Ryan O’Reilly has vowed that Ballinamallard will put their Irish Cup disappointment behind them and focus on getting promotion to the Premier League.

Getting back into the top flight has always the team’s number one target for the 2019/20 campaign and the defender feels the squad have the belief that they can finish the season on a high, despite their quarter final cup exit.

“Our focus now has to be on the league for these last ten games and hopefully we can get the results we need,” he said.

“I think we are all positive, especially after the PSNI game where we came back with a few minutes to go. It is almost a blessing in disguise that we are out of the cup and we can focus on the league. Regardless of anything else the league has always been the priority for us this season.

“Portadown have dropped a few points in the last couple of games as well so it is all to play for still. With the split coming, if we can take advantage of our games in hand we are still well in it.

“If we can get to within three points (of Portadown) come the split then we will be happy. A few weeks ago when we had a bad run of results it wasn’t going for us, but all of a sudden things change again.

“We are coming into the final stretch now and these games in hand are important and if we can win them we are right back in it.”

Saturday’s performance against Premiership side Ballymena showed the Mallards are capable of testing the sides in the top division, and O’Reilly felt that the score line was not a true reflection of the match.

“We feel that on another day we could have taken our chances and got one over on them, but it just wasn’t meant to be for us,” he said.

“After last year we wanted to get to the semi final again so it was disappointing. We felt we played well and we felt we were the better team and played better football but conceding the early goal was tough.

“Even the penalty when we were pushing on to get the equaliser was tough to take. The pitch wasn’t at its best but I felt we played well considering the conditions. We still got the ball down and tried to play even though the conditions weren’t so good. We got it down a lot more than Ballymena. There are positives to take from it as well.”

Ryan has been a regular member of a Ballinamallard defence that was the foundation for their good run of form prior to Christmas, but he admits that the lack of a clean sheet this year is frustrating.

“I suppose the last few weeks we have been conceding more goals than we would have liked,” he conceded.

“The injury to Ross (Taheny) was a blow to us and now Matty (Smyth) has picked up a wee knock as well but we have coped with it well. We want to get back to keeping clean sheets, and that is the important thing for us as a back four.

“Personally I felt I have done well this season. I have been out at left back the last couple of months and I felt I have done okay out there as well. I have only missed two or three league games all season and that is another plus for me to stay clear of injuries and stay fit.”

The Mallard’s next chance to close the gap to the league leaders comes with the visit of Dundela to Ferney Park on Saturday, and O’Reilly knows they will have to be at the top of the game if they are to come away with all three points.

“They will be a tough opponent again,” he acknowledged.

“We can’t take anything for granted in this league and anyone can beat anyone else on any day. They are pushing for top six and it is going to be a tough game again but hopefully conditions are not as bad as they were last Saturday.”