Harps complete season treble

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Harps complete season treble thumbnailStrathroy Harps captain, Brendan Boyle, receives the Mulhern Cup trophy from Fermanagh and Western Football Association chairman, Roy Cathcart

STRATHROY Harps completed a wonderful season treble after adding another Mulhern Cup to their trophy cabinet on a rainy Friday night at Ferney Park.

Harps held their nerve in a 5-3 penalty shoot-out win after a goal-less draw with Beragh Swifts.

 "The name is back on the trophy, that's the most important thing, "said Harps manager, Seamus Fanthorpe. "Over the full time and over the extra time, no-one can argue we didn't deserve it. We had more penetration, more belief going forward, more possession. We hit the post and had goals disallowed.

“I think we dominated the game but it boils down to goals, and we didn't take our chances when we got them.

“All-in-all though, we're delighted. It's a results business and we held our composure at the end. That bit of experience of playing big finals at the end came to the forefront."

For Harps it has been a magnificent season, first capturing the Kennedy Cup before surging to a Mercer League title, only losing once along the way. 

“We have a domestic treble behind us now. We were the Fermanagh and Western curtain-opener, and we're the curtain-closer. So we've taken part in all the top occasions and we've won each time."

There was plenty of noise from both sets of passionate fans, but it was the green and white of the Strathroy loyal who were cheering at the end, as celebrations took to the field to watch Benny Boyle raise the cup.

Fanthorpe praised the fans, saying: "It's absolutely fantastic. This club originated from a community, and we've since widened our net out a bit and got people in from outside Strathroy Park, but our supporters are core people.

“You can see all the kids and everyone else buying into what we're doing. The boys are role models to the young children growing up, so it is great to have the community following you all over the country and supporting you."

Whether or not the Harps boss will be back on the sideline next season to defend the silverware is yet to be decided though. Fanthorpe and his wife have recently had twins, and the manager will decide over the if he is continue in the reins at Strathroy.

“I'll have to have a bit of reflection in the close season myself, in regards to whether I'll be managing or not. Certainly I'll be involved in the club in some capacity, but I'll have to make that decision. But certainly there will be a blueprint set out, and there will be a healthy core of players for anyone that may come in."

While there was jubilation for Fanthorpe and his Strathroy players, it was cup final agony for Beragh Swifts once again. Having being defeated in the last kick of extra time in the 2014 decider by Enniskillen Town United, Keith Hamilton's side came even closer this year. Although downhearted, the Swifts boss reflected on the positives as his players pushed the champions right to the very end.

“We didn't start at all in the first half. We weren't good enough. The guys maybe got a bit over-awed. Second half though we came out and we were as good as them. Unfortunately the Mulhern Cup is settled on fine margins.

“Nobody wants to go to penalties, and to lose it on penalties is even worse, but that's the way it goes.  We showed that we can stand up and be counted,. There was nothing in it, and one goal would have certainly won it obviously. We just couldn't manage to get it.

“Unfortunately it hasn't fallen for us tonight, but hopefully in the future it will because that is two extra-times we've been put through in the Mulhern, and nothing for it. But it is what it is.

“There are plenty of positives to take away. We've saw Enniskillen town and Strathroy now beat us, who are both really good teams, so we are not far away."


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