SEAMUS Fanthorpe was reluctant to talk about the fact that Friday evening’s Mulhern Cup triumph was his last meaningful game in charge of all-conquering Strathroy Harps.
Instead the man who has delivered 11 trophies in seven years wanted the focus to be on the fact Harps had recorded a hat-trick of Mulhern Cup triumphs and in the process completed a season treble.
In his post-match comments Fanthorpe revealed that his players had practised penalties ahead of the gripping showpiece decider.
After both sides drew a blank at Ferney Park, the final showdown against Beragh Swifts was decided on a dreaded penalty shoot-out which Harps won 5-3.
Simon O’Neill rammed home the clinching spot-kick to ensure that Strathroy became the first Tyrone team in over half a century to win the Mulhern Cup in three consecutive seasons.
It also completed a season treble for the Omagh side which had already won the Mercer League and Kennedy Cup.
Fanthorpe has a reputation for leaving nothing to chance and he insisted Wednesday night’s penalty session had paid dividends.
“In fairness we practised penalties on Wednesday night. That may have looked a wee bit negative but when there is a possibility it will go to penalties it’s certainly something I wasn’t prepared to let slip,” he said.
“I think that came off. The boys took the penalties really well.”
The very fact Harps had prepared for the prospect of penalties showed the respect the holders had for their challengers.
Fanthorpe said he expected nothing less than a tough battle from Swifts.
“That game had a bit of everything tonight. Credit to Beragh they came up, put up a good fight, a good honest hard fight but we expected nothing less.”
Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening Harps wrap up their league programme against neighbours Strule United who need at least a draw to avoid relegation.
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