Jason McCartney believes Saturday’s Irish Cup quarter final win over Dungannon was one of the greatest moments in Ballinamallard’s history.

The veteran winger has played a key part in all of the clubs recent successes, and he reckons the penalty shoot-out win over Swifts is up there alongside winning promotion and victory over Linfield at Windsor Park as one of his greatest moments at the club.

“It was an unreal feeling and it is right up there with the best days,” he said.

“Obviously, promotion was massive for us because it was the first time for a team from Fermanagh, but Saturday is definitely up there. One thing I always wanted in my career was to experience a cup final day and its one step closer to that. Hopefully it not over yet.”

McCartney scored the Mallards opening goal and immediately ran to celebrate with the fans behind the goal.

“It was brilliant to see the fans with smiles on their faces, cheering and singing again,” he admitted.

“It’s been a battle and a fight for a lot of years and we could never relax and enjoy the season because we have been fighting relegation, but Saturday brought back a lot of great memories about what we did before.

“It was great that those supporters got the opportunity to celebrate and look forward to the semi-final of an Irish Cup. You see the same faces week in and week out and I’m delighted for every one of them that they now have the chance to go to an Irish Cup semi-final. It is brilliant for them.”

Dungannon took the lead in the first half but McCartney came within inches of grabbing an equaliser from a free kick, before eventually levelling the scores in the second half.

“I was sure the free kick was in,” he said. “Even when it hit the post I thought it would go in, and then it hit Ryan O’Reilly in the stomach before he could react. I knew it was still early in the game and there was plenty of time to get back into the game. We didn’t panic. When you hit the post like that it gives you a lift and gets everyone going.”

Seven minutes into the second half Jason made no mistake when presented with another opportunity.

“Clarkey switched it out to Josh (McIlwaine) and he took it down well and put it onto the box. A couple of defenders misjudged it and I had gambled at the back post, and it fell lovely for me. I have got a bit of slagging about hitting it with my right foot, people wondering if I just closed my eyes, but I was delighted. It was a great feeling.”

Dungannon hit back in extra time and it looked as though the Mallards would fall just short, but they responded well to draw level for a second time and prevail on penalties.

“I think we deserved it,” said McCartney. “On the pitch it felt like we were on top. Obviously they have good players and we had to respect that, but we showed so much heart. We played when we could and I think it would have been very disheartening if we had lost after the performance we had put in. In extra time after going behind we showed some serious fight.”

Ballinamallard’s reward is a semi-final clash against Warrenpoint, and Jason admits he was delighted to avoid Coleraine and Crusaders in the draw.

“If you hand-picked the draw that is the one you would have picked,” he admitted.

“Warrenpoint are in the league above us and have great players and a great manager, and they want to play football which I think will suit us.

“We want to play football as well and it is there for the taking if we really want it.

“In fairness to Harry, Steve and Craig no matter who we are playing they have us well drilled and we will know everything about them.

“They do a lot of work behind the scenes and a lot of credit goes to them.

“We definitely will go into it with a bit of confidence and belief and try to take the game to them. We won’t shy away from it.”