MAN of the match in Friday evening’s Mulhern Cup final Blain Campbell said that Tummery Athletic had their sights set on completing what would be a magnificent cup double by winning the fonaCAB Irish Junior Cup for the first time this coming weekend.
On Friday evening Athletic defeated NFC Kesh 3-0 in the Fermanagh and Western’s premier cup competition with headed goals from Campbell and Declan Molloy before a wonder strike by Emmett McNabb ensured the Dromore side lifted the famed trophy for a fifth time in the club’s history.
Campbell admitted that celebrations would be short and sweet as he and his team-mates prepared to meet Enniskillen Rangers – who were reinstated into the competition after Bessbrook United were found to have played an ineligible player – in Saturday’s Junior Cup decider at the National Stadium.
Friday night’s triumph also came three days after Rangers had pipped Tummery to the league title after the sides drew 2-2 at the Ball Range.
“All the boys were down losing the league the other night,” said the accomplished defender.
“The whole thing about the Irish Junior meant we played five games in so many days and probably no need for it in the end up.
“We’re glad to get that tonight and hopefully there is another one next week.
“Of course we’ll celebrate tonight and maybe tomorrow but it’ll be back to training on Monday and Tuesday for the weekend.”
With just two games left to complete their season in all competitions Tummery have yet to taste defeat and, while much of that success is down to their free flowing attacking football and the skills of the likes of Aidy McCaffrey, Ruairi Sludden, Emmett McNabb, Malachy McLaughlin and Co, the foundation has been laid by a solid defensive platform.
Athletic conceded just 16 goals in the league and in successfully defending the Mulhern Cup they scored 23 goals while conceding a meagre four.
“That was something we had talked before tonight, about the fact that we had conceded so few goals compared to last season when I think we shipped something like 40 goals,” added Campbell.
“We have strengthened at the back, but the guys in midfield and up top can take credit for that as well.
“For me it’s been a special night, that’s my second winners’ medal. I was telling the boys that last year was my first after losing in four finals. Of course last year was special because it was my first but this one feels every bit as good.
“It feels great to have scored as well. It’s the first time I have scored in a Mulhern Cup final and it makes it that little bit extra special. That’s my third goal this season.
“As far as the game goes everything went according to plan tonight although we found ourselves under pressure with the high ball at times but we dug deep and it worked out well in the end.
“The class of wee Emmett and them showed in the end, that’s the class we have up there.”
Kesh had played their full part in entertaining decider but their manager Nicky Noble admitted that on the night his team were second best.
Noble also announced to his players in the changing room afterwards that Friday evening’s final was his last in charge after two seasons at the helm.
“Very disappointed to be honest. Other than Tummery I thought we would have beaten anybody the night there, the boys put in a serious shift but that’s a good team. They are a very good team and I can’t take anything away from them,” he said.
On his decision to stand down Noble added, “Nicky Noble is finished, I just told the players there I’m stepping down. I haven’t got the time anymore. I’ll still be about the club but maybe a new face will freshen the thing up, them boys are sick of listening to me in the past two years.
“But I can’t thank them enough for what they have given me in the past two years, I have 20 fellas in there that I can call friends. I would like to have gone out with a swan song but it wasn’t to be.”
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Posted: 9:51 am May 13, 2019