IRISH LEAGUE: McAree hails swift start as Dungannon hit form in time for play-offs

Swifts' Ryan Harpur
celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0
during Saturday's match at Stangmore Park. 
Photo by TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com.
Swifts' Ryan Harpur celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 during Saturday's match at Stangmore Park. Photo by TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com.

Rodney McAree praised Dungannon’s fast-paced start as they piled the pressure on Carrick Rangers.

The Swifts were two goals up inside eight minutes care of Andrew Mitchell’s 25th leage goal of the season and another from Ryan Harpur.

Harpur added his second of the day before Fra Brennan made it four at the break in what proved a very one-sided encounter.

McAree said: “To score two goals so early and give ourselves that platform was very impressive.

“I thought we started the game very, very professionally. We played on the front foot from the off.”

Glenavon-bound Mitchell got Dungannon up and running when he headed home a cross from Jarlath O’Rourke after four minutes.

The impressive Ryan Harpur scored their second, slotting home after a rebound fell kindly.

Harpur headed a third in the 20th minute from a delivery by Kris Lowe.

And it was 4-0 when Fra Brennan nodded home from close range eight minutes before the interval.

The second half was a much less dramatic affair, apart from a late red card for Carrick midfielder TJ Murray, who was dismissed for dissent.

McAree admitted the hard work had been done in the opening 45 minutes.

He added: “What you hope at half-time, when you’re winning 4-0, is that you go out and perform to the same level.

“It’s very hard to do that at this time of the season. We’ve had a lot of minutes under our belts, a lot of games.

“You sort of expect it to fizzle out a wee bit, and I thought it did.

“But it was important from our point of view to hold on and keep a clean sheet. We never really looked in any danger of conceding a goal.”

This was Dungannon’s third win in a week, following victories over Glentoran and Ballinamallard.

And while McAree felt last Tuesday’s 4-1 win at Ferney Park was their best 90 minutes of the season, this was right up there.

“The first half was good - I thought our performance at Ballinamallard on Tuesday night was our best performance of the season football-wise,” he added.

“Today we played a lot of good football. We played a lot of free-flowing stuff - the first half especially, we moved it quickly.

“It’s right up there with our big performances this season.”

The result made certain sure of Dungannon’s spot in the end of season European play-offs, when they will first travel to face the fourth placed side.

DUNGANNON: Addis, Lowe, Brennan, Armstrong, O’Rourke, Wilson (Teggart, 59), Harpur, Burke, McMahon (Lavery, 75), Glackin (Fitzpatrick, 75), Mitchell

Subs not used: Clucas, Lockhart

CARRICK: Briers, Quigley, Smyth, Kelly, McNally, M Murray, Noble (Surgenor, 46), Rice, TJ Murray, McAllister (Taggart, 76), O’Brien (Elder, 46)

Subs not used: Larmour, McConnell

Referee: Steven Gregg (Ballyclare)