Conor Hagan added another happy chapter to his Irish Cup scrapbook as St Mary’s produced a well-earned win over Amateur League leaders Downpatrick.
Hagan picked up a winner’s medal from his time on the books at Linfield and holds the competition in high regard.
“A lot of people did not seem to give us a chance, with Downpatrick top of the Amateur League’s Premier Division,” said Hagan, in his first season as manager. “I am out at the minute with a broken hand but it was a brilliant group effort and can offer us a great boost.
“We started the season so well, which can happen when a new manager comes in, then hit a recent dip.
“I have great memories of the Irish Cup and feel it can bring a lot to the club.
“Home ties help financially and it is a different test from league play, with away games a great bonding opportunity.
“Downpatrick have been going well and many people feel the Amateur League is superior to Mid-Ulster football but we put in the preparation and got the reward.”
Hagan has turned to another Irish Cup winner - and former team-mate - to add to the St Mary’s coaching panel.
“We have asked Marc McCann to come on board and he has so much top-level experience as a former Irish League player, plus started out in St Mary’s youth section so knows the club,” said Hagan. “Marc worked with the guys before the Downpatrick tie and adds another aspect to our existing coaching team.
“We decided to give the Irish Cup a real go and had Downpatrick watched, plus the players really put into practice the hard work from training.”
St Mary’s held a 2-0 lead at half-time then added a third before Downpatrick’s late consolation - with Ruairi Feeney’s brace arriving either side of a Sean Brady finish.