EAMON Curry says Strabane Athletic becoming the first team from the town to win the Northern Ireland Intermediate League was no fluke.
Cheered on by hundreds of supporters, Athletic clinched the title on Saturday with a resounding 6-0 victory over defending champions Magherafelt Sky Blues at a sun-kissed Melvin.
That meant Curry’s history-makers had captured the prestigious crown with two games to spare, having won 11 and drawn one of their 12 games in finishing top of the pile.
The former Tyrone Milk Cup manager said the evidence showed that annexing an historic first title in 41 years was a progression from last season.
“Last season we were in the running until the 14th game of 16 and up to the last two games the stats were identical,” he said.
“And that was without the likes of Liam McMenamin and Warner Mullen.
“But I knew I needed experience. I had kept the majority of the young players and to be honest signing Liam McMenamin at the start of the season was massive. And at this level you can’t buy the experience which Warner gives you.
“From the perspective of a coach the most pleasing thing was the boys were buying into the sessions. We had big numbers at training and the challenge for me was to keep them as intense as I could and that all links in.
“It’s been a collective effort by the staff and the success is down to hard work. The players bought into the message that you have to work hard to get the ball before you can play with it.
“Saturday meant a lot to people and watching the players celebrating with family, girlfriends and their children was hugely satisfying. To have my wife and two children there was very special. To be honest my thoughts have turned to winning more trophies and it’ll probably be the end of the season before I can full appreciate what we have achieved.”
FULL STORY AND MORE COVERAGE IN TODAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE…