Two early goals helped Linfield FC to a 2-1 victory against Portadown FC in the Irish Cup final and a fourth double in five seasons.
Linfield opened the scoring in the second minute when on-loan striker Peter Thompson turned in Damien Curran's cross, before midfielder Philip Lowry capped a dream start by heading in a second from a corner. Portadown quickly reduced their arrears when Kevin Braniff's free-kick beat Alan Blayney at his near post, but despite forcing the Linfield goalkeeper into action several times thereafter − as well as hitting the post from long range − were unable prevent their opponents lifting the trophy for a record 40th time.
David Jeffrey, the Linfield manager, said he was delighted to have finished "a tough season" in such fashion and also reserved praise for captain Noel Bailie, who made his 1,004th appearance for the Belfast team, winning seven Irish Cups and nine titles. "He's been immense, imperious; he's a marvelous skipper, a phenomenal player," said Jeffrey, who hopes to keep hold of Thompson after the striker rejoined the club from England's Stockport County FC in January.
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