I knew I wanted Terry Fitzpatrick to help lift the trophy, says Dungannon captain Ryan Harpur
Dungannon Swifts captain Ryan Harpur says it was an easy decision to invite club stalwart Terry Fitzpatrick to help him lift the BetMcLean League Cup on Saturday evening.
Fitzpatrick has given 25 years worth of service to the County Tyrone club and so, had certainly earned his place in the club's history-books, coming on as a second-half substitute to help see out the Swift's first major top level title.
"As soon as we won the semi-final I knew I wanted Terry to lift the trophy as well if we won it because of the respect we all have for him," said Harpur. "He has been here for so long and I knew it would mean a lot to him. I didn't tell him as he would have told me where to go.
"This Cup win is no surprise to me because I know the quality that is in our changing room. To play the way we do and get a bit of success, hopefully it will fire us to more good days."
As well as one of the happiest, Harpur was likely the most relieved man inside Windsor Park when referee Tim Marshall peeped the final whistle. The former Everton midfielder, you see, had been dismissed with the scores already at 3-1. It was for a coming together with teenage Ballymena United defender Kofi Balmer. Any panic, however, was needless as his side comfortably completed the cup victory.
"The young lad came across the front of me and there was no intent in my part," said Harpur. "I have caught him but I didn't mean to catch him down the back of his leg.
"It was the longest 11 minutes of my life. I was told I couldn't watch and I was just praying they wouldn't score to make it a nervy ending."
Belfast Telegraph Digital