Strathroy Harps 6 Enniskillen Town 2 Strathroy maintained their quest for a League and Mulhern Cup double as they moved into the semi-final of the cup with a convincing victory over Enniskillen Town.
Two goals each from Darren Teague and Aidan McCaffrey along with strikes from Tommy Murphy and Simon O’Neill ensured their hopes of a third consecutive Mulhern Cup triumph are still alive in a performance that manager Seamus Fanthorpe described as ‘pretty much perfect’.
“The energy, the work rate and what we work on in training just all game together for us, and apart from the two goals we conceded it was pretty much a perfect performance,” said the Strathroy manager.
“The score line reflects how the game went and we have put ourselves in a great position in the league and in the cup. We were disappointed with our performance in the Junior Cup but I have a team capable of winning trophies and we are using that disappointment to finish our own domestic double attempt very strongly.”
The result has all but ended Town’s chances of silverware this season, and manager Rory Judge admitted that he has been disappointed with his side’s performances against Harps this campaign.
“It’s maybe a lack of belief from our players,” he said.
“On Saturday we started really well and seemed to be up for it, but once their first goal went in there was a collective sigh among the players and it was like they were thinking ‘here we go again’.
“We were 5-1 down at half time, which was embarrassing to be honest, and it could have been more if they had put their mind to it.
“In the end it was thoroughly convincing for them. It was very disappointing all round and a horrible way to effectively end our season.”
Town started well and looked as though they had raised their game against the cup holders in the early stages.
They almost opened the scoring when Malcolm Crawford headed a corner against the crossbar, but when Harps snatched the opening goal of the match the outcome rarely looked in doubt.
There was a slice of good fortune in Strathroy’s opener when Darren Teague’s shot was deflected past Pat Cadden in the Town goal, but they capitalised on their good fortune and moved further ahead when Teague turned provider for both Tommy Murphy and Aidan McCaffrey.
Frank Wallace pulled one back for Town but any hopes of a revival were quickly extinguished when McCaffrey scored again to move Harps 4-1 ahead, and Darren Teague added another before half time.
Frank Wallace provided the finishing touch to a good team move to give Town a second but once again Harps responded immediately with Simon O’Neill flicking a Martin Flanagan free kick past Pat Cadden.
The victory puts Strathroy into the last four of the competition, with manager Fanthorpe confident his side can rise to the occasion.
“We are well used to these big matches,” he said.
“Every season I’ve been here we have been involved in big finals and big matches. We have a team that is very young but we have a good mix of experience in it as well and we have big game players.
“We know what has to be done to grind it out so nerves is not something I’m too concerned about. We just have to continue to do what we have done in the past because that has worked well for us before.
“We have put ourselves in a very good position for the double.”