Johnny Law has now won the Craig Memorial Cup NINE times, with the latest and second in a row as Portstewart manager one of the sweetest of the lot — and not just because his son Glenn scored the winning penalty in a dramatic shoot-out success over Strabane Athletic.
After a 0-0 draw at Fortwilliam Park earlier this week in which Premier Intermediate League (PIL) outfit Portstewart dominated, Law’s men won 6-5 on spot-kicks, claiming their THIRD victory on penalties in the competition this season.
No wonder Law had faith in his players to finish the job.
That’s four Craig Memorials for him as boss with two for Portstewart, one with Tobermore and one with Coleraine Reserves to add to his five as a player; three with Limavady and two with Tobermore.
“The competition has been good to me, though this one was the first where we won a penalty shoot-out in the Final,” says Law.
“I was thinking when the whistle went how had we not won in normal time. The Strabane goalkeeper Ryan McGowan was magnificent and made three world-class saves.
“We had beaten two of my old clubs Coleraine Reserves and Limavady on penalties earlier in the Cup so I had belief we could win the shoot-out, especially because I always feel our goalkeeper Andy Findlay can stop one or two.
“I’ve also learned over the years rather than players putting their hands up and saying they’ll hit them and then feel bad if they miss, I pick the five boys for the penalties so it is on me.
“My son Glenn ended up scoring the winning penalty. To be fair he was probably our best player on the day and that’s me speaking as a manager not a father.
“Glenn was brilliant for us. He actually said to me before the game that he had a feeling he was going to score the winner. He doesn’t score many and I’ve been at him about rattling in a few more. He had a chance with a few minutes left and hit it sweet but that was one of the great saves their goalkeeper made.
“We got there in the end and it didn’t matter to me how we won it. It was a great feeling, one of the best I’ve had in football. I was so pleased for all of our wonderful players and everyone at the club.
“I feel very lucky because there are good players who play at our level who never get the chance to play in a Final or win a Cup. People who play at a higher standard may think it is a Mickey Mouse Cup but it’s important to us and all the teams that play in it.”
Law, who has done a superb job in charge of the Seahawks, added that the trophy success was for Eamonn Murray and Freddie McGowan, two key figures behind the scenes.
He added: “Portstewart is moving forward. We have big development plans for the ground but if it wasn’t for great men like Eamonn and Freddie the club wouldn’t be around. I wanted to win the Cup for them.
“Now we will focus on the League. It’s a tough division but our dream is to get promotion to the Championship at some stage and go all the way to the Premiership.”