CONSISTENCY has become a watchword at St Mary’s in recent seasons, with the Mid-Ulster League Division One outfit regularly challenging for league and cup silverware.
The Saints may have missed out on knockout glory following back-to-back cup blows inside five days but, in terms of a consolation, the title of Divison One champions certainly points to another memorable season.
Three league triumphs and two runner-up placings from 2008 suggest a successful blueprint remains in place with the Saints.
Consistency also extended into the current campaign as St Mary’s clocked up 14 consecutive league wins to complete 2012’s fixture list with maximum points on the march to the championship.
St Mary’s also finished as the only side across the six senior Mid-Ulster divisions to find the net on more than 100 occasions.
“The boys deserve a lot of praise for recovering from the disappointment of losing the Junior Cup final then the Alexandra Cup final inside a few days,” said St Mary’s joint first-team manager, Gerry Fay. “They managed to keep up the focus and produce a strong finish to get the job done in the league.
“It is a brilliant feeling to end the season with another league title and this one means a lot given the circumstances.
“Even aside from the situation with the two cup defeats, having lost out on the title last season certainly served to push everyone on this time around.
“Any league win, or trophy success, should be considered special and that first championship in 2009 will always live long in the memory.
“We have changed the playing side quite a bit from back then but never drastically, rather just tweaking a few names at a time each season.
“The 2010 victory was important as a back-to-back title is a true sign of consistency so missing out last season certainly hurt.
“We put everything into this season, however, so finished with the rewards.
“We lost one game back in August then had three draws before Christmas but won every other match.
“Some crucial games included beating Silverwood United and our main rivals, Coalisland Athletic, within four days during that hectic April period.
“One bonus was the strength-in-depth on the books as the reserves had a great campaign and we could call up two or three players and not really weaken the seniors.
“Ultimately, it is about having good people working hard behind the scenes and a great collection of players.”
Winners from the end-of-season prize night were as follows: Paul Kelly (firsts’ Players’ Player of the Year), Chris Mackle (firsts’ Player of the Year), Stephen Murray (firsts’ Leading Scorer), Shea Skelton (Young Player of the Year), Francie McKee (Clubman of the Year), Sean Mallon (seconds’ Players’ Player of the Year), Neil McKee (seconds’ Player of the Year), Luke Carville (seconds’ Leading Scorer).