Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey was all smiles on Monday night as he steered his side through to the quarter-final of the Tennent’s Irish Cup with a 1-0 win over Carrick Rangers at Ferney Park.

McConkey admits that it wasn’t their most fluent performance of the season but he was delighted with the effort of the players as Josh McIlwaine’s 18th minute goal sent them through to a meeting with Dungannon Swifts in the last eight.

“I’m delighted for the boys and they got their reward for the hard work they put in tonight and everybody at the club will be looking forward to the game against Dungannon,” he stated.

“I don’t think we were at our best tonight but I felt there was a great hunger in the players to compete and to make it difficult even when we weren’t keeping the ball at times,” he added.

McConkey was very aware of the threat that Carrick posed, Rangers having hit seven only two days earlier in the league, but he felt that his defence stood up very well to the challenge.

“They have quality in Smith and Nixon and scored seven goals in their last game against a Welders side who had beaten us but I think we restricted them to very little on target.

“I thought the back three of Ross Taheny, Ben McCann and Matty Smyth were superb and they dominated aerially. I was very pleased with that.”

He did feel though that they could have made life easier on themselves by adding a second goal.

“We had chances for a second through Ben and Rocket in the second half but didn’t take them and sometimes those missed opportunities can kill you in the cup because the opposition get oxygen from them but fortunately we didn’t pay for that,” he said.

It is the same opposition again this Saturday with Carrick again the visitors to Ferney Park and McConkey says he may freshen things up for that clash.

“I don’t like back to back games and I’m sure Niall (Currie, Carrick manager) doesn’t either but at least we know what we are up against on Saturday. We will get a couple of days recovery to try and freshen things up and we may look to freshen the team up for Saturday,” he stated.