As always, April and May was a decisive period in the local sporting calendar, with Strathroy Harps storming to success at the end of the Fermanagh and Western soccer season, and teams making moves as the GAA season kicks into gear.
The Fermanagh and Western football season came to a conclusion in dramatic fashion, with several high profile and entertaining finals. In the Mulhern Cup, reigning champions, Strathroy Harps, made their way to a third consecutive final via a thrilling 6-2 win against rivals Enniskillen Town at the Omagh Leisure Complex., followed by a similarly convincing 3-0, semi-final win over Enniskillen Athletic. They were joined in the final by Beragh Swifts, who came through their side of draw, defeating Strule United 1-0 in the semi final.
When the finals came, it would prove to be an unbelievable week for Omagh’s green and white Strathroy Harps, as they completed the 2016/17 season with a domestic treble, after clinching the Mercer and Mulhern cups in the space of one week, having previously secured the league title.
Ferney Park was the stage for the Mulhern cup final, and after a nonetheless thrilling encounter remained goalless throughout the ninety minutes and extra time, a penalty shoot out brought and end to a brave fight from Beragh Swifts. it was Simon O’Neill who had the honour of scoring the decisive penalty to give the Harps their third consecutive Mulhern cup success.
It proved to be a fairy tale ending to Seamus Fanthorpe’s era as manager of Strathroy Harps, though special mention should also go to Jordan Newell of Beragh Swifts, who was deservedly named the man of the match after producing some outstanding saves throughout the duration of the game to keep his side in the match.
Moving on to the Irish League, where Ballinamallard United travelled to Shamrock Park to play Portadown FC. Niall Currie’s side defeated the Mallards 1-0 to keep their slim survival hopes alive, with a Ross Larkin goal providing the damage. However the next day Portadown FC were relegated, with a combination of results not going their way, and ironically helping Ballinamallard stay up.
With the soccer season wrapped up, attention naturally turned to GAA. As the season heats up, highlights included: Cookstown Fr Rocks hosting their neighbours Rock St Patricks in a mid-week fixture at Paddy Cullen Park, where they recorded a 3 point victory and the derby bragging rights; Omagh St Endas continuing their fine league form with a comfortable victory over North Tyrone opponents Urney St Columbas; and finally, in the Tyrone Intermediate Ladies league, Drumragh Sarsfields and Omagh St Endas ladies going head to head at St Patricks Park, with Seamus Wood’s side recording a four point victory over a battling St Endas side.
In other sport, I finish with a better-late-than-never shout out to the thousands of runners who packed the Old Mountfield road in Omagh in early April, participating in the 28th Spar Omagh Half Marathon and 5k fun run. The race was eventually won by local Omagh harrier Stephen Duncan who completed the race in an astonishing 1:10:05 net time.
Congratulations once again too to all the teams and individuals who gained success in the last two months! We can look forward to another great month of local sport ahead.