High-flying Dundela outline top-six target in Championship

Dundela kept the pressure on the Lough 41 Championship top two with Saturday’s hard-fought 2 -1 victory over Belfast rivals Knockbreda at Wilgar Park.
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In doing so, they narrowed the gap on second-place Annagh United to just two points.

Speaking immediately after the game, Duns first-team coach John McAllister praised the resilience shown by the home side.

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“Knockbreda will feel a little disappointed by the result, in fairness to them,” said McAllister. “But we have played 14 games in 10 weeks now and we have picked up knocks in that time...we are down a few players.

Dundela manager Niall CurrieDundela manager Niall Currie
Dundela manager Niall Currie

"So, the guys are playing a high volume of minutes.

"I thought we looked a bit leggy in the first half.

"However, we improved in the second half and the three substitutes made a difference, with Willy Faulkner being particularly impressive.

"As a result, we were in control for most of the time – but credit to Knockbreda and it took Neil (Shields) to make a couple of saves at the end for us.”

When asked what Dundela could hope to achieve in the Championship this season, McAllister responded: “We have improved on last season.

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"Remember when Niall (Currie) came in, we were in the relegation zone.

"The players we had last season did well in getting us out of trouble.

"We have made changes to the squad this season and our aim at this stage is to achieve a top-six finish and be in the top half for the split later in the season.

"You look at the two teams above us now...both squads at Loughgall and Annagh have been together for a few seasons now.

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"But, as the gaffer says, it really is a ‘one-game-at-a-time’ approach we have here and we have massive respect for all our opponents.”

Away from the Championship, where they have recorded seven wins from 10 games, Dundela have caught the eye of other Irish League fans with a couple of high-profile victories against Crusaders (BetMcLean League Cup) and Carrick Rangers (Toals County Antrim Shield).

They also asked questions of Premiership champions Linfield before exiting the League Cup.

Regarding the victory over Carrick, which has taken the team to the semi-finals of the Shield, McAllister said: “Credit goes to the players, who are a hard-working and coachable bunch.

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"We will look forward to having Larne here and will enjoy that semi-final.”

Looking around a revamped Wilgar Park, with new stands and floodlights, it appears clear a club on the up.

McAllister paid tribute to all at Wilgar Park.

“The club is in a good place,” he said. “Everyone - the club committee, management staff and players - is pulling together.”

When asked what Dundela hoped to achieve in the long-term, the answer was both honest and simple: “Dundela being in the Premier League.”

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