Strathroy on top form as treble charge continues
Thursday, 16 February 2017
IT was a case of 'another day at the office' for Strathroy Harps on Saturday as they dismissed of Tummery Athletic 5-0 at Omagh Leisure Complex.
Strathroy Harps ...5
Tummery Athletic ...0
While Tummery have usually been stern opponents of Strathroy in recent years, the league leaders were at their best as they continued their tremendous form of late to maintain their all-conquering run to a Mercer League, Mulhern Cup and Irish Junior Cup treble.
"We've always put good runs together over the seasons," said manager Seamus Fanthorpe. "Up until the Enniskillen Rangers game in October, we haven't dropped a point since. We are well used to this sort of form because it is probably why we are always up competing for trophies each year.
"I suppose it all boils down to the squad. We were missing Darren Teague, Martin Flanagan and Tim Harney on Saturday. They are three very influential people within the team.
"Tummery always gives us a game. We expected nothing less on Saturday. The first half was a bit cagey but I think there was only ever going to be one winner.
Despite Harps going ahead early on thanks to a Ryan McMenamin own goal, they were largely frustrated by a determined Tummery in the opening passages, and couldn't create a clear cut chance for the remainder of the half as both they and Athletic fluffed their lines on a few occasions.
Harps switched up their game-plan in the next period though and it ultimately paid dividends. Conor O'Donnell broke through the Tummery defence and teed up Aidy McCaffrey for a a fine goal to double the lead. McCaffrey was involved again for Harps' third as he weaved down the wing to square the ball to Tommy Murphy who applied the finish past Conor Lynch at the second attempt.
Fanthorpe rang changes, and as Tummery still offered a threat from the counter-attack, O'Donnell fired in a beauty just after the hour to end the contest. The Omagh man again came down the left wing before cutting in and unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner. Patrick Nugent added the fifth moments later with a fine half volley of his own as Harps banked three more points
"We are going into the games with confidence," said Fanthorpe. "The other thing is that it leaves a threat to the players on the pitch, although I don't like using that word. If the players aren't performing and giving me 100 per cent, they're are going to lose their jersey.
"Losing your jersey in this squad at the minute, you mightn't get it back for a couple of months. Whenever you have a winning mentality and momentum, its hard for the lads that are on the bench to break into the team as you cant change things too drastically, unless there are suspensions or injuries.
"The boys are well aware of the threat, and they're willing to do whatever they have to do to keep that jersey. So it is a good position for me to be in as manager because you know you will get 100 per cent out of boys."
Fanthorpe and the Harps will look towards a tantalising tie with Lisbellaw United in the first round of the Mulhern Cup this weekend, and while the current Division One champions are the nearest challengers to Harps title charge at the moment, the Strathroy manager is understandably optimistic given the current form of the club going into the game.
"It is last year's final, and its this year's first first round tie. That is the luck of the draw. We have to play them and I'm sure they aren't overly happy about it. We aren't overly happy about it but you take what you're given and you get on with it.
"The most important thing is home advantage, and we are playing fairly well at the Leisure Centre 4G at the minute. I hope to have a full deck of cards to play with in terms of squad selection.
"It has all the attributes of the cracking game, and I'll be sure the lads are well up for it on Saturday. If I was another team, I wouldn't want to play Strathroy at this moment in time"
Strathroy's 1-0 win over Lisbellaw in last year's decider ensured the Mulhern Cup stayed at the club for a second consecutive year, and Fanthorpe is keen to keep the trophy in his dressing room for a third season on the trot.
"We are holders, and it is about the reminding the players of that. We certainly don't want the cup to leave.
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