Effort and work rate were key to Strathroy Harps’ Mulhern Cup victory over Enniskillen Town, according to player manager Benny Boyle.

‘Grew into game’

In a goalless game Boyle struck the decisive penalty in the shoot-out to give his side their first Mulhern Cup victory since 2017, but Boyle acknowledged that they rode their luck at times as Town spurned a series of chances in front of goal.

“We all know football and if you don’t take your chances when you are dominating the game it leaves it in the balance, and that was the way it panned out,” said Boyle.

“We grew into the game. In the first half we weren’t good enough and Town ran over the top of us at times, but the longer the game went on, the more we came into it.

“We created some chances ourselves to score, although Town probably created the best chances. I was disappointed that we didn’t get our foot on the ball and play a bit more football.

“We went too long at times, but we won it, and I can’t ask for much more. The effort from the lads was unbelievable. Maybe if both of us played for another hour you wouldn’t have seen a goal, but I was delighted with the result for the lads after the effort they put in all year.”

With the game finishing goalless, the cup winning penalty fell to player manager Boyle, who stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way with his team’s fifth spot kick.

“I have missed my last three,” he admitted afterwards. “I missed one against Kesh in last year’s Mulhern to put us ahead. I hit the post. I missed in a tournament at the start of the season, and I missed in a Junior Cup game that we won. I put myself fifth just in case. I have hit quite a few for the Harps in penalty shoot outs, and I couldn’t have hit it any sweeter.”

Back winning

Strathroy dominated local football from 2012 to 2017, winning three league titles, three Mulhern Cups and two Irish Junior Cups, but they have struggled to reach those heights for the past six years.

Young squad

Boyle is hopeful that their latest Mulhern Cup win will mark the start of another period of success for the club.

“It has been a bit of barren spell for the last six or seven years,” he admitted.

“We were close with a couple of junior cup semi-finals, but we were back in our first final for six years and it was great to get over the line. We have such a young squad. We have a couple of under 19 and under 17 teams that are going very well, and it will give them a boost too to maybe go on and win things and push into the first team.

“Our league is so strong that any team can beat anyone on any given day. It’s about getting a run together, and if that run can come at the start of the season and you can bring it on through, then you would have a great chance of winning a Mercer.

“I would say one or two additions to the squad would make a big difference to us, and a few of those young fellas that played in the Fermanagh and Western will hopefully kick on.”