Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey declared himself delighted with his side’s 3-0 victory over Harland and Wolff Welders, as they completed their last game before the Irish Cup semi-final with a victory, a clean sheet, and new no injuries or suspensions.

“It was just what the doctor ordered,” said the boss. “We were coming into it on the back of a 3-0 defeat away to Larne, and we felt it was important to get a good performance. The quality of the goals pleased me as well as the fact we didn’t concede. Apart from Larne and Carrick we have the best defensive record in the league, and that cleansheet gave us another wee boost. It is one of those games where you are pleased to get through the game without any injuries and no danger of anyone losing out through suspension. Three points was the goal, and to get that psychological boost of moving into fifth with another win in the top half of the table, where it is so hard to get a win. It was a good day’s work.”

The three goals came in a 14 minute spell in the first half, and the manager believed the score line was a fair reflection of the game.

“I think once we settled down we were the better side,” said Harry. “This game was all about the importance of that first goal. They came into the game with a new manager and had made a few switches and were looking for a reaction. I thought with their confidence fragile of late, that if we could get the first goal it would affect them and it clearly did. After that goal we controlled the game, put them under a lot of pressure and got two more goals. In the second half I knew complacency would be our biggest enemy. In fairness to the boys that is a hard thing to do and they found that difficult early on. I thought in the final third we maybe didn’t keep control of the ball as we should have done. They had to come at us and we rode that storm.”

Harry selected his team with one eye on the upcoming semi-final, and he was delighted with the performance of the players who stepped in.

“We wanted to look at players and make sure we have the best possible 18 players available to us for the semi-final,” he said. “There were some players we needed to find out about in terms of fitness and confidence and we got some answers. I was delighted for Duwayne McManus who got man of the match. He has got such a talent and has proven that over the years, but he has been unfortunate to pick up injuries every time he has threatened to make a breakthrough. His body has been unkind to him but he is a player who is at the hub of everything we do and can set the tempo of the game. It was great to see him grow in confidence and he should be delighted with his 90 minutes. John Edgar had picked up a wee injury and has been knocking on the door since to get back. He is a great box to box player with great athleticism and on the day he did what we asked of him and scored a wonderful goal. Simon Warrington also has been on the fringes and he did well. We got Robbie Hume back on the pitch after a hamstring injury and although he didn’t find the back of the net he was handful for their backline all day.”

The Mallards have a weekend off before their match against Warrenpoint, and the manager is using that time to ensure they are well prepared for their biggest game of the season. He has had the opposition watched twice already, and he and his assistant Craig Lynch will take in Warrenpoint’s Premier League game against Ballymena on Saturday as he prepares his game plan in a bid to help Ballinamallard to an historic cup final.