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Dungannon Swifts - A tale of two Codes

From Ireland to Beyond
Started on 14 February 2019 by Declan290
Latest Reply on 3 March 2019 by Declan290
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Disclaimer: This story is purely the result of my imagination and in no way reflects real life incidents even though some of the characters are real people. :) It's my first attempt at a story so i hope you enjoy.


“So Keith, why have you sacked Swifts legend Rodney McAree ,after only a year and nine months into his second spell of managing his hometown Club? He managed to finish the last two seasons in 7th place in the Danske Bank Premiership, not a bad record for the Swifts, in fact their highest finish in the league since they finished 5th in 2010.”

The slightly balding Dungannon Observer journalist glared at the Swifts Chairman, Keith Boyd, impatiently waiting for the latter to give his answer. It seemed to him that Boyd had lost his mind. McAree must have walked, surely, there could be no other explanation. The news that McAree was gone certainly had sent shockwaves through the small County Tyrone town, or at least among the 60 or so loyal season ticket holders.

“On behalf of the Dungannon Swifts Board, we would like to thank Rodney for all he has done for the Club. We feel however that the opportunity has arose to appoint a new manager to take this Club to the next level, and that was something we couldn’t pass up” replied Boyd, to the virtually empty room.

“What, have you convinced Martin O’Neill to resign from his Irish Post and come North of the border” sarcastically sneered the local hack.

“No Thomas, but we have got someone who I believe to be equally as good. Someone who has took their team to the very top of Irish football on no less than three occasions. Someone who knows how to win”

“Holy Shit! Who have you got? Roy Coyle..David Jeffery…Stephen Kenny!!” The journos mind was racing; there aren’t that many managers in Ireland who have won the title three times, either side of the Border.

The door at the back of the room swung open an in strode a small bearded figure wearing a baseball cap and a shell-suit top.

“Gentlemen” boomed Boyd, “May I present Dungannon Swifts new Football Manager, former Tyrone GAA Senior team supremo, Mr. Mickey Harte”

The only sound to be heard was that of a slightly balding man collapsing to the floor.
A Trevor Logan Exclusive


Dungannon Swifts shocked the Irish League, by announcing former Tyrone GAA Manger Mickey Harte as their new manager. The three- time Sam Maguire winning manager was unveiled to Yours Truly (and a few of my lesser adversaries), during a special press conference at Stangmore Park yesterday morning.

“I don’t see it as a great shock. I feel, that after 14 years, now is the time for a fresh challenge. I’ve always has an interest in the domestic soccer scene and as a proud Tyrone man have had more than one eye on the Swifts over the years” said the Ballygawley native smugly.

“I have had the privilege of managing a squad of talented players to the top echelons of the domestic scene and I have no doubts I can do the same here at Dungannon”

In pointing out the obvious, I immediately blurted out that it was a different f”*$#^! Sport!!

“Football is football. The objective is still the same despite the rules being different. Score more than the other team and you will win. Jim McGuinness managed Donegal to an All- Ireland title and has went on to be a successful soccer coach throughout the world. All I’m saying, is Jim won one All-Ireland, I won three. Good morning lads, I’m sure we will be talking again soon”

That was it. No further explanation. No further questions. Nothing. He got up and strode out of the room as if he’d somewhere more important to be.

A man who hasn’t even managed an under 11 soccer team, in charge of a Dankse Bank Premiership Club. I have a feeling the place he will be is the Bluefin Sports Championship.

Harte flung the newspaper into the cardboard box in the corner that was doing a pretty good job of imitating a waste paper bin. He’d never worried about the media before, why should he now, he thought. Besides, there were more pressing matters at hand.

Sure, he had been following “soccer” for almost 60 years, and could easily give you a blow by blow account of the ’85 cup final and Whiteside’s spectacular extra time winner….but local football? … nah, that clashed with his first love.

“I know none of them…or their opponents”, he thought.

“At least I’ll see them all in action tonight with the in-house game, time to go through these reports to see who the hell I’m managing.”
A good start mate. A more than interesting appointment to say the very least! Looking forward to following this, as I've never followed a save in Northern Ireland before. Good luck!
Good luck with this mate, looking forward to it
Thanks for the messages of support guys. A slow coming update, but hey life gets in the way :)

Andy Coleman (32) – Has been the regular no 1 since signing on a free from Glenavon in 2013.
App 101 Goals 0

Liam McMenamin (28) – Versatile right full-back who can also play in the centre of defence. Signed on a free this summer after a few steady seasons at Ballinamallard. Once on Sheffield Wednesdays books.
App 0 Goals 0

Chris Hegarty (23) – Solid Centre Back who started his career with the Swifts before being snapped up by Milwall after one season. Spent four years at Glasgow Rangers making 25 appearances before returning to the DBP with Linfield. This will be his 3rd season back with Dungannon.
App 44 Goals 5

David Armstrong (30) – Experienced centre back who was on Hearts books for seven years though never made a 1st team appearance. Had loan spells with Cowdenbeath and Raith before signing for Linfield, where he made 45 appearances in four seasons. Has been a regular in the Swifts line-up for the past three seasons.
App 95 Goals 4

Jarlath O’Rourke (22) Left Full Back who came through the youth system. Has been at the club since 2012, but only really established himself as a first team starter last season, playing 36 matches. App 66 Goals 1

Seanan Clucas (24) The ball winning midfielder is another one of who actually started his career at Stangmore Park before being snapped up by then Sky Bet Championship side Preston NE. After 3 seasons at Preston’s ground he had spells with Burton, Bristol Rovers, Linfield and Derry City before re-signing for Dungannon last summer.
App 29 Goals 5

Dougie Wilson (23) Has been a regular in the first team for the last three seasons since being released from Hull City after 4 barren years. Did manage to make 3 apperances for Grimbsy on loan. Looks a useful midfielder.
App 87 Goals 6

Ryan Mayse (23) The right winger is a new signing in the Summer but again he is no stranger. His first two seasons in football were at Dungannon before spells at Strathroy, Dergview and Ballinamallard have seen him wind up back at his hometown club. Expect a lot.
App 0 Goals 0

Paul McElroy (22) Versatile young winger who can play on either side, or indeed up front. Another one on Hull City’s books before brief spells with Linfield and Portadown. Arrived at Dungannon two years ago.
App 45 Goals 6

Daniel Hughes (25) The new arrival already has a bagful of Premiership experience, following spells at Glenavon, Newry, Warrenpoint and Cliftonville. Can operate as a striker or in behind the front two.
App 0 Goals 0

Johnny Lafferty (30) Yet another new signing, Johnny can operate on the left wing or up front as a target man. Has been at Glebe, Dergview and Finn Harps but was at his most impressive during the last 3 seasons at Ballinamallard.
App 0 Goals 0

Stuart Addis (38) In his second spell at the club, Stuart has been the back-up keeper for the last two seasons. Has a wealth of experience having represented Linfield, Glentoran and Glenavon to name just a few.
App 46 Goals 0

Kris Lowe (21) Lowe came through the youth system and after making his debut at 16, has become a fairly regular member of the first team. Can play as a right back or midfielder.
Apps 81 Goals 2

Terry Fitzpatrick (35) Mr. Dungannon. Terry has been at Stangmore park ever since he was a fresh faced teenager seventeen seasons ago. Can play anywhere across the back or as a defending Midfielder. His best days are behind him though.
Apps 400 Goals 20

Johnny Montgomery (43) The former Dungannon favourite signed as Dungannon Reserves Assistant player/manager in the summer. His experience may come in useful.
Apps 271 Goals 10

Joe Collins (23) The central defender has came through the youth system but has yet to make a 1st team appearance.
App 0 Goals 0

Garbhan McManus (22) The young central defender has also came through the youth system, but yet to make his debut.
App 0 Goals 0

Grant Hutchinson (27) Central Midfielder who is in his second spell with the club. Started his career at Ballinamallard but following a good year at Carrick, he signed for the swifts in 2012. He was lured to Toronto in 2014 but shortly after came back to finish the job at Dungannon.
Apps 84 Goals 0

Ryan Harpur (28) Released after 5 years at Everton, the central midfielder signed for Glenavon in 2008. After four successful seasons at the Blues, he signed for Dungannon where he has been a regular for the last 6 seasons.
Apps 161 Goals 33

Cormac Burke (23) Following being released by Wigan, the right sided midfielder had a brief spell with Derry City before signing for Institute. Signed for Dungannon two years ago and has become a familiar face around Stangmore Park.
Apps 59 Goals 9

Mark Patton (28) Left midfielder who spent a lot of years at Distillery before spells at Portadown and Glenavon. New signing.
Apps 0 Goals 0

Alan Teggert (30) Experienced winger who can play on the left or the right. Into his third season at the Swifts following successful spells at Portadown and Ballymena.
Apps 66 Goals 7

Kevin Curran (22) Young striker who has yet to make a first team appearance.
Apps 0 Goals 0
Pre Season

Dungannon Swifts 3 Dungannon Reserves 0
Hughes (1)
Lafferty (10,52)

As he drove up the A5 after the game, a realisation began to dawn on Mickey that he really could be out of his depth here. He had just seen his players in action for the first time, and while there were some impressive performances, he knew he needed to see a lot more of them before he could establish what needs improving. His immediate worry however, was the size and quality of his backroom team.

“I’ve no assistant manager, no scouting network to speak of and a coaching team who you wouldn’t leave in charge of the Clarke’s under 8 team down the road. There’s a lot to be done before the opening League game against Coleraine on the 12th August” he thought to himself.

Dungannon Swifts 0 Dumbarton 3

Hurlford 1 Dungannon Swifts 0

Dundela 0 Dungannon Swifts 1


Ballinamallard 0 Dungannon Swift 2

Maybin (43)
Clucas (67)

Dungannon Swifts 1 Cookstown Youth 1

Burke (13)

Dungannon Swifts 3 Coalisland Ath 1

Curran (15)
Mayse (51,79)

Friday 11th August 2017

Press Conference – Stangmore Park, Dungannon

“So Mickey, after six preseason games, with mixed results, do you know your best eleven for tomorrows opening League game against Coleraine?”

“Preseason has went well for us. I’ve managed to see virtually everyone in the squad at some point. They have caused me a headache regards selection but yes, I know my starting eleven for tomorrow” replied Harte.

“Do you care to reveal that to us?” chanced the Observer journalist.

“I have never revealed my starting team in my many years of management. I have no intention of giving my opposition any advantage. You’ll just have to pay your money at the gate tomorrow Trevor, and come and see like everyone else” chuckled the Swifts boss.

“You have signed three new players in preparation for the new season. Will we see any of them in action tomorrow?” asked Logan, unfazed by Harte’s quip.

“Yes, I appointed Tony Hannah from Scotland as our Chief Scout and he identified a number of players for us. We managed to bring in 23 year old striker Martin Maybin on a free transfer. Martin is a good finisher and has experience in the premiership with Glentoran and Carrick, as well as a spell in the American lower leagues.

Ryan Morris is an exciting young right back who has played well for Ballinamallard during the last couple of seasons. And although he may be coming to the end of his career, the signing of Nacho Novo has been a real boost for everyone at the Club. His vast experience at the highest level will be an asset to us at times this season”

“A new number two as well, how is that working out?

I didn’t have an assistant Manager and Gary is someone who I felt could do a great job for us. He is a great coach as well as having a good tactical brain.”

“Under Oran Kearney’s management, Coleraine finished 3rd last season and are considered one of the favourites for the title this year. Can you get a result against them?”

“There is no doubting Coleraine are a strong side, but I have every faith in our lads to get a result. There would be no point in fielding otherwise, would there. Thank-you gentlemen, that’s all for tonight”?

Mickey got up from the table and pushed in the chair. That should get them out of my hair for a while, he hoped.

Coleraine Brush Swift’s Aside

Dungannon Swifts 1 Coleraine 3
Novo (66) Dooley (3)
Bradley (30,54)
Att: 158

Dungannon Line-up (match ratings in brackets): Coleman(6), McMenamin(6), Hegarty (7), Armstrong(6), O’Rourke(6), Clucas(60), Wilson(6), Mayse(6) Harpur(6), Teggart(6), Lafferty(6)

Hughes for Harpur 63rd min
Novo for Lafferty 63rd min

Despite having the majority of the possession, the Swifts were outclassed by a potent Coleraine side at Stangmore Park. A third minute strike by winger Stephen Dooley gave the visitors the perfect start.

Eoin Bradley then doubled the Bannsiders lead on the half hour mark with a fine finish. Nine minutes after the restart, Bradley struck again to compound the misery for Swifts new manager Mickey Harte.

A late consolation penalty from substitute Nacho Novo would have done little to improve Harte’s day.

Manager’s Office: Mon 14th Aug 2017

Mickey Harte: They cut us open every time we lost the ball. They eased in behind our midfield time and time again.

Gary Howlett (Ass Manager): I agree boss. But when you play a 4-2-3-1, that’s the danger.

Mickey Harte: Glentoran will destroy us tomorrow night if we play that system again, especially at the Oval. We need a holding midfielder.

Gary Howlett: Terry Fitzpatrick has been going alright in training, he could play that role.

Ciaran O’Kane (1st Team Coach): A big ask of a 35 year old is it not?

Gary Howlett: Terry could play that role in his sleep. His experience and know how more than makes up for his lack of speed.

Mickey Harte: Yeah, Fitzpatrick in behind Clucas and Wilson. I think that will work. Right, let’s get out to the training pitch men, there are a few other changes I want to work on before tomorrow night’s trip to Belfast.


Swift’s shock Glentoran.

Glentoran 1 Dungannon Swifts 3

Birney (19) Mayse (16)
Wilson (45+2)
Novo (87)
Att: 1050

Dungannon Line-up (match ratings in brackets): Coleman(6), Lowe(6), Hegarty (7), Montgomery(6), O’Rourke(7), Fitzpatrick(6), Clucas(7), Wilson(8), Mayse(8), McElroy(6), Lafferty(6)

Harpur(6) for Wilson 57th min
Burke(6) for Clucas 67th min
Novo(7) for Lafferty 73rd min

Harte’s changes seemed to work as the Swifts were deserving 3-1 winners in last night’s Premier League game at The Oval. Lowe and Montgomery came into the defence in place of McMenamin and Armstrong respectively. Veteran Terry Fitzpatrick replaces Ryan Harpur in a more defensive minded set up. The only other change saw Paul McElroy replace Alan Teggart on the wing.

Ryan Mayse opened the scoring in the 16th minute but the lead didn’t last long, as Calum Birney equalised for the Glens just three minutes later. Both teams then had chances to go in front, but just as it appeared the sides would be going into the break level, Dougie Wilson got on a Mayse cross to fire the Swifts back into the lead.

The impressive Mayse, blotted his card in the 67th minute when he got sent off for a viscious two-footed lunge, but Dungannon held out, in fact adding a 3rd in the 87th minute thanks to Nacho Novo. It was a great victory for Harte’s side, especially after their opening day mauling at the hands of Coleraine.

It will be interesting to see how they fare against Belfast’s other giants, Linfield, at Stangmore Park on Saturday.


Linfield Batter Swifts.

Dungannon Swifts 0 Linfield 2

Millar (61)
Campion (80)
Att: 319

Dungannon Line-up (match ratings in brackets): Coleman(6), McMenamin(6), Hegarty (6), Montgomery(6), O’Rourke(6), Fitzpatrick(6), Clucas(6), Wilson(6), Burke(6) ,McElroy(6), Lafferty(6)

Teggart(6) for McElroy 45th min
Novo(6) for Lafferty 45th min
Harpur(6) for Clucas 71st min

Dungannon can count themselves fortunate with the score-line against a dominant Linfield side. McMenamin and Lowe swapped places again, while Cormac Burke coming in for the suspended Ryan Mayse was their only other change from their mid- week triumph over Glentoran.

Despite pounding Coleman’s goal with seventeen shots during the course of the ninety minutes, it wasn’t until Kirk Millar’s 61st minute goal that Linfield took the lead. Jarlath O’Rourke went for an early bath after being shown his second yellow.

Archille Campion secured the points for the visitors with a powerful 80th minute header. Harte will be asking for a better performance from his players for next Friday’s trip to Ards.


Wasteful Dungannon Pay The Price.

Ards 3 Dungannon Swifts 1

Frazer (70) Novo (20 Pen)
McLellan (74,90+4)
Att: 237

Dungannon Line-up (match ratings in brackets): Coleman(6), Montgomery(6), Hegarty (6), Armstrong(6), Fitzpatrick(6) ,Mayse(6), Clucas(6), Wilson(6), Taggert(6) ,Novo(6), Lafferty(6)

Harpur(6) for Wilson 56th min
Maybin(6) for Novo 70th min
Lowe(6) for Mayse 81st min

Dungannon’s shortage of left sided full backs led to Mickey Harte throwing a tactical surprise in this early season league fixture. O’Rourke’s suspension has forced Harte to play with three central defenders with David Armstrong coming back into the side.

Mayse returns from suspension and takes up a deeper role on the right side of midfield with Taggert on the other side. Novo starts for the first time this season, partnering Lafferty in a two man strikeforce.

Dungannon dominated from the off and when Nacho Novo converted a penalty in the 20th minute, they deservedly went 1-0 up. However despite good build up play the swifts struggled to really test Aaron Hogg in the opposition goal.

Then in the 70th minute Ards hit Dungannon on the break and Frazer got in behind to the Swifts defence to level it up. Before the South Tyrone men knew what hit them they were behind following McLellan’s tap in at the far post from a corner kick.

Try as they might the Swifts could not find a response and McLellan struck again deep in injury time to cement a fine Ards victory.

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