League push the target for Ports after cup joy

Portadown players celebrate at the final whistle of Saturday's Irish Cup quarter-final victory. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown players celebrate at the final whistle of Saturday's Irish Cup quarter-final victory. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ronnie McFall is calling on his cup heroes to use Saturday’s knockout progress as a platform for league points.

A 3-2 success at Shamrock Park against Linfield has placed the Ports one win away from the Irish Cup final and a shot at silverware.

However, Portadown must first return focus to the Danske Bank Premiership before the Irish Cup semi-final on March 21 against Ballymena United at the Oval.

With Linfield leading the Ports by four in the league standings, McFall is refusing to diminish the push for points.

“It was a great team performance on Saturday but everything now goes back to the bread-and-butter of the league campaign, starting this weekend at home to Glentoran,” said McFall. “Our objective is to finish as high as possible and we will be looking to try and catch Linfield.

“There is no real change in the squad leading up to the Glentoran match, with Mark McAllister still a wait-and-see situation due to his hamstring problem and Darren Murray entering the final two games of his suspension.

“Shea Conaty will head off after Saturday with Northern Ireland under 17s to the European Championships’ elite qualifiers in Holland.”

McFall is confident momentum from Irish Cup progress can translate into a strong finish to the league campaign.

“There was never any doubt in my mind over our ability to match up against any side in this league,” said McFall. “Three wins over Linfield in the same season helps confirm that ability and the first-half performance on Saturday was excellent.

“We managed to press and get out in front from the first whistle to lead by 3-0 at half-time.

“Given the heavy conditions and Linfield’s need to throw everything at us in the second half, it was understandable we were under pressure but coped with it and deserved the win overall.

“Michael Gault, Robert Garrett and Tim Mouncey were outstanding working in midfield, however, we needed a big performance from the team overall and got it on Saturday so must now push on over the rest of the season.”

Kick-off tomorrow (Saturday) against Glentoran will be 3 o’clock at Shamrock Park.