Sports

Harps march on to quarter-finals

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Harps march on to quarter-finals thumbnailMartin Flanagan scored a penalty for Strathroy harps in their 3-1 win over HW Welders U20s in the Irish junior Cup.

STRATHROY have been left holding the torch for Tyrone teams in the Irish Junior Cup with a 3-1 away win over HW Welders U20s to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

HW Welders U20s ...1
Strathroy Harps ...3

Following fifth round defeats for Beragh Swisfts, Strule United and Cookstown Youth, Strathroy esnured their passage into the final eight with goals from Conor O'Donnell, Martin Flanagan and Aidy McCaffrey. The win that keeps Harps on course for a clean sweep of silverware.

Harps boss, Seamus Fanthorpe, was under no illusion over the quality of the opponents, who were essentially a Welders second string brimming with Irish League experience.

"When you look at the team, HW Welders U20s, you'd expect a youth team. But it was more of a reserve Irish league team. They had a few old hands playing in the team, and their experience mad them a very tough outfit.

"They had a very experienced keeper in, and some very athletic players who were well-organiused. We are delighted then obviously."

Welders threatened the Harps goal on a few occasions early on, but the Omagh side would take the lad though O'Donnell when he reacted first to a loose ball to fire in off the post.

Tommy Murphy then had two chances but was denied both times by the Welders stopper, while McCaffrey also hit the woodwork from a distance, Harps continued to pressure the Belfast side's goal and minutes into the second half they doubled their advantage when Flanagan fired home from the penalty spot after a Welders hand-ball in the spot.

Welders pulled a goal back later in the half and were inches from levelling game from a free-kick with five minutes remaining, only for the crossbar to come to Harps rescue.

Harps would then get their insurance gaol in the dying moments of the game when Darren Teague's industry set up McCaffrey to nod in a diving header at the back post.

"All in all, we deserved it," said Fanthorpe. "We had a number of chances in the first half but their keeper was excellent. It all boils down to the end of the game I suppose and at 2-1 they hit the joint of the crossbar. Another day and it might have went in, and we would have had a very different game. It spurred us on a wee bit and got our insurance goal.

"We haven't had an easy game in the competition. In recent years, we have hit teams for lots of goals in the Junior Cup. This year, we have been pushed in every game, they have all been tough tests. It's put us in good stead, and it shows the resilience and hunger of our own side."

There were unsavory scenes at the end of the game, but Fanthorpe was happy his players maintained their composure and patience to let the game conclude without incident.

"We had a good crowd up, and it was a day away for the club. We were coming up for the right reasons. I think the HW manager let himself down a bit, and I kept our players out on the field afterwards so as we wouldn't get dragged into anything. We came through it and I'm delighted we are in the hat for the next round."

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