Early treat for football fans at Youth Sport

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Early treat for football fans at Youth Sport thumbnailStrathroy Harps' Aidy McCaffery fights hard to keep a hold of the ball.

LOCAL fans were treated to an early feast of football action at Omagh Youth Sport on Monday night as the Laird Challenge Cup pre-season competition returned.

Originally a knockout cup was founded in 1998, it ran for 11 years before its demise, but it has been resurrected to coincide with the recent regeneration of the artificial surface at Youth Sport.

And Monday night's quarter-final line-up served up an early taste of entertainment before the 2017-2018 Fermanagh and Western League kicks off on Saturday, August 19.

First up was last year's unbeaten Division Two champions, Mountjoy United, who took on Mountfield on the new 3G pitch. Mountfield took the lead through a penalty, but Mountjoy pulled level just before half-time following a neat goal from winger Lee Frazer.

The intensity of the game was picked up a gear in the second half as both teams pushed for the win, but it would be penalties that would decide the victor. Mountjoy prevailed 5-4, with Gareth Barbour getting down to stop Mountfield's fifth spot kick.

Reigning Mulhern Cup and Mercer League champions Strathroy Harps met with recently relegated Strule United in a fiercely competitive Omagh derby over on the grass pitch.

Both teams showed plenty of gusto despite the game's 'friendly' tag, with a determined and hard-working Strule taking the lead and leading for most of the game before Harps found an equaliser late in the tie. Strathroy would go on to win the shootout 4-3 but the gutsy display from Strule will encourage their boss, Niall McAleer.

In the final match of the evening, it was another derby of sorts as Intermediate side Ardstraw came up against their near neighbours Killen Rangers.

Once again, penalties were needed to decide the game after a very entertaining 3-3 draw, and it was Fermanagh and Western side Killen who would show the greater nerve to get the win.

Last night's game saw Omagh Hospitals take on Dunbreen Rovers in the final quarter-final, with the semi-finals to be played tonight (Wednesday) and the final on Friday night.

Tournament organiser, Sean Curneen, was very pleased at how the tournament's opening night passed off.

"The games were all tight which was good. They were very competitive as local teams don't like to get beat by other locals teams, so it had a bit of an edge to it.

"We're happy that it was well-received. There was a great crowd there and a nice buzz about the place. Each team as a good following so I'm looking forward to more big crowds and more interest for the rest of the week."

"The Laird Cup will be something we will work on, We'll sit down afterwards and work out how to build it up in the future. There were a few teams that didn't want to play and I think maybe they'd be regretting that now. Hopefully we get some more teams now and get a real appetite for it."


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete