This weekend’s Fermanagh Tyrone derby takes centre stage with a little added spice, thanks to Dungannon’s 3-1 League Cup triumph over Ballymena.
Stangmore Park hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Ballinamallard, and with the Swifts on a high, it’s not likely to get much easier.
And while Dungannon have created history, winning the club’s first ever League Cup, Mallards boss Gavin Dykes isn’t expecting the party mood to blunt the hosts concentration this afternoon (Saturday).
“Rodney [McAree] will have his team focused on the weekend,” insisted Dykes. “I was delighted for them and I think it’s great for football that Dungannon won. I spoke to Rodney afterwards and told him I think it’s fantastic for the league and it’s great to see a team from outside Belfast winning, that’s only healthy.
“But we’ll be focused on what we want to do. It is a difficult place to go. In my time here we got a draw up there with a last minute goal by Niall Owens.
“It is a derby, but there are no easy matches and it is an opportunity for us. We haven’t won away from home this season and there’d be no better place to start.”
While Ballinamallard will have their highly rated shot-stopper Richard Brush back between the sticks for the trip to Stangmore, David Kee still has a game of his suspension to serve. There are also major injury concerns hanging over Stephen O’Flynn (quad) and Hutchinson (hamstring), with both big doubts for Saturday.
One Mallard old boy who will be raring for action is Ryan Mayse. Mayse had a stellar season for the Ducks last year before making the move to Dungannon. He has delivered the goods for Rodney McAree in some style and was man of the match in the league final, hitting two goals to smash Ballymena’s cup dreams.
“I’m delighted for Ryan Mayse,” said Dykes. “He’s a nice kid and he did very well for us and I’d like to think we helped him develop and that he can go further again. But we are a club that, unfortunately, when other teams come in there’s a money thing and if somebody wants to go there’s not a lot you can do about it. “We wished him all the best at the time, we’ll congratulate them again on Saturday, but hopefully we’ll be the ones coming home with the points.”
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Posted: 9:42 am February 24, 2018