ST MARY’S Junior Cup campaign may have ended in May Day misery but the Portadown-based players could still finish the season with double silverware.
Tuesday’s fixture list will mark a return to Mid-Ulster League Division One focus for the title-chasing Saints but tonight (Friday) will centre on an Alexandra Cup clash with Coalisland Athletic.
The final will kick off in Dollingstown at 6.45 as St Mary’s attempt to secure a third Alexandra Cup prize since 2008.
An opportunity to make amends for last year’s defeat to Coalisland at the same stage of the competition will provide plenty of incentive for a strong showing by the Saints. However, Gerry Fay - the St Mary’s joint first-team manager - admits his squad should not need to think back to last season for motivation when the pain of Monday’s Junior Cup final remains so fresh.
“All we can do now is get up off the floor and try to make amends for that kick in the teeth by Strathroy Harps,” said Fay. “It is good that we have another cup final so soon and still the league title within reach.
“I am sure a lot of teams would want to swap places under those circumstances but that does not take away from the disappointment of Monday, not only in terms of the result but our performance.
“We basically gifted Strathroy two goals inside the first 30 minutes and Harps had too much quality to let that advantage go to waste.
“They were disciplined and organised.
“They were the better side on the day but we just failed to turn up.
“That is uncharacteristic for this group of players and they have bounced back from disappointments in the past so now we need to focus on the next challenge.”
Sean Brady was on the scoresheet for St Mary’s to close the gap following neat play between Ryan Lawless and Stephen Murray. However, the Saints failed to level the match - with Harps losing a player to a red card but still able to increase the advantage to 4-1.
“We had worked a lot on set-piece defensive play before the match but conceded under those circumstances.
“Half-time probably came at the wrong time as it knocked back our momentum.
“However, there is still plenty to play for before the end of the season.”