Rodney McAree delighted to welcome back key player after two-month injury absence

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​Despite feeling there was “something missing” in his Dungannon Swifts side during their 2-0 defeat to Larne, one major positive for Rodney McAree is the return of Thomas Maguire.

​The 24-year-old had been sidelined for the past three months through injury, but marked his comeback as a substitute against the club he joined the Swifts from last summer.

Maguire provided a creative spark in the second-half with Joe Moore and Ben Gallagher missing big chances that could have set up a nervy finish for the reigning champions.

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"It’s great to see him back and I thought he put a bit of a spark into us too,” said McAree. “There was a bit of brightness.

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker PressDungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

"He's a great lad and one of them boys you want to have on the pitch rather than looking at him on the treatment table.

"We're delighted to have him back and I thought he did well."

Dungannon came into the fixture having won their last two league matches and on the back of a competitive midweek BetMcLean Cup semi-final against Linfield, which they ultimately lost 2-1.

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McAree’s men have scored 43 goals this season – a number which can only be bettered by the Premiership’s top four – and the Swifts boss was left to rue missed opportunities.

"I thought there was something missing today with our performance and something missing within the group,” he added. “It wasn't the same atmosphere.

"Whether it was people being left out and feeling hard done by or whether people were a bit leggy after playing on Tuesday night, I don't know. There was just something missing.

"The first goal we don't react enough quickly to in the middle of the park or to the rebound...the second is frustrating because it's a basic straight run from Leroy (Millar) that we don't track or pick up.

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"That came at a bad time for us because if we had have got in at half-time at 1-0 we might have had a bit more to fight for. I thought we were poor, lethargic, flat and the whole atmosphere was flat on and off the pitch.

"You're frustrated with your performance but we could have scored three against Larne."

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