Football: Dismal day in Belfast for out-of-sorts Dungannon Swifts

�Russell Pritchard 28th February'Irish Cup Quarter Final between Glentoran and Dungannon Swifts at The Oval, Belfast.'Glentorans Stephen McAlorum and Dungannon Swifts Matt Hazely in action at Saturdays Quarter Final.'�Russell Pritchard / Presseye

�Russell Pritchard 28th February'Irish Cup Quarter Final between Glentoran and Dungannon Swifts at The Oval, Belfast.'Glentorans Stephen McAlorum and Dungannon Swifts Matt Hazely in action at Saturdays Quarter Final.'�Russell Pritchard / Presseye

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Darren Murphy offered no excuses as Dungannon Swifts’ Irish Cup dreams were again emphatically ended at the quarter-final stage.

They fell to a dismal three-goal defeat on a miserable day in every respect in East Belfast.

Not only was this a desperately disappointing performance, the tie was played in horrendous conditions.

Driving wind and heavy downpours buffeted the Oval, making things difficult for the players and affecting the quality of football.

But the Glens still had too much for Dungannon.

Goals from Curtis Allen, Marcus Kane and Niall Henderson sent the 21-time cup winners through to a semi-final clash with Crusaders.

Afterwards, a clearly frustrated Murphy refused to blame the conditions for his side’s meek exit.

“The conditions are irrelevant – they were the same for both teams,” he said.

“Glentoran adapted better than us. It’s the sign of a good side.

“I’m not going to come out here and make any excuses about the pitch, the weather or whatever.

“I’m a realist, it’s about two teams that compete against each other and Glentoran competed better than us over the 90 minutes.”

All three goals came from errors in the Swifts’ defence.

They were caught napping for the first two, and gave the ball away just outside the box for the third, which led to David Armstrong being sent off.

Murphy said he could take no positives from the game.

“There’s none – how can you take any when you’ve been beaten 3-0 in the quarter-final of the Irish Cup and had a man sent off?” he added.

A dismal day for Dungannon started badly when they fell behind after 14 minutes.

Goalkeeper Alvin Rouse did well to parry a deflected David Scullion shot on to the post, but Allen was first to the rebound and scored.

In a half of few clear chances, Kane also went close with an early chipped effort which Rouse managed to fumble to safety. Allen also fired over from a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Swifts’ best effort fell to Gary Liggett, who took a pass from Jamie Glackin, rounded a defender and fired over.

Dungannon had been poor in the first half and were little better in the second. Liggett worked the goalkeeper with a shot on the turn, while Armstrong also went close from a diving header. But when Glentoran made it 2-0 in the 66th minute it was all but over.

A corner was flicked on to Kym Nelson, whose half-volley drew a fine save. Unfortunately the ball went straight to Kane, who rifled home.

Any doubts were ended when Armstrong brought down Allen five minutes from the end, resulting in a penalty and a red card.

Henderson scored from the spot as the tie ended 3-0.

Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson said his players had to battle not just their opponents but the elements.

“It was horrendous – there were puddles all over the pitch,” he said. You’ve got to give credit to both teams. Both battled away and tried to play the football they normally do.

“It was very, very difficult the way the wind and rain was coming at us. But in cup games all you want is the result irrespective of what the performance is like.”

Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Garrett (Birney, 74), Addis, Kane, McAlorum, Nelson, Henderson, McCaffrey (McKee, 64), Scullion, Allen

Subs not used: O’Hanlon, McCullough, Hogg

Swifts: Rouse, McCullough, Brennan, Armstrong, Wilson, Glackin, Hutchinson (S Lavery, 73), Harpur, Hazley, Mitchell (Douglas, 73), LiggettSubs not used: Coleman, Fitzpatrick, O’Rourke

Referee:

Raymond Crangle, Belfast