A BIZARRE opening goal, a pitch, which according to Harps boss Seamus Fanthorpe was anything but playable, and some shambolic defending in the first half all contributed to the Omagh side bowing out of this year’s Irish Junior Cup at Ahoghill Thistle on Saturday.
Fellow Fermanagh and Western outfits Beragh Swifts and Lisbellaw United had already come a cropper in Thistle’s backyard and on Saturday Harps joined them on the Junior Cup scrapheap for 2017.
Mind you it took a huge slice of good fortune to gift the home side an early lead.
The Harps defence stopped fully expecting an over-hit pass to run over the byline on the left side, but the match ball hit another ball that had been kicked onto the pitch by a small child.
The referee failed to spot the incident, the Thistle left winger collected the ball which had been stopped a yard from the end line and he ran through to steer his shot past Harps net-minder Tim Harney.
Harps chief Fanthorpe admitted that in all his years in football he had never witnessed anything quite like it.
“A lot of strange things happened on Saturday, if I’m honest,” said Fanthorpe.
“One, we didn’t perform to our capabilities and, two, we conceded the strangest goal in all my time playing football.
“It was clear the ball was going to run out of play so everyone had given up on it. It was a ball belonging to a seven-year-old girl that struck the match ball to keep it in play and to everyone’s utter surprise the referee didn’t see what had happened.
“From our perspective you know it’s not going to be your day when something as unlucky as that happens to you.”
The Harps boss wasn’t far wrong. His team conceded twice more before Tony Quinn and Patrick Nugent replied for the visitors.”
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