Linfield FC completed a hat-trick of Irish Premier League titles on the final day of the season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory away to Crusaders FC.
Second-placed Glentoran FC started the the day three points behind the leaders and with an outside chance of overhauling them, but despite winning 3-1 at home to Portadown FC, as was always anticipated Linfield were never in danger of missing out on their 48th league title. It was evident the league trophy, the Gibson Cup, would be staying at Windsor Park from an early stage of Saturday's matches.
Glentoran fell behind to a seventh-minute goal from Portadown's Andy Smith and still trailed at the interval; meanwhile Linfield were two up at Seaview at the break, both goals coming from former Northern Ireland striker Glenn Ferguson, who netted in the 27th minute, and again shortly before half-time. Glentoran did turn their game around in the second half, with goals from Michael Halliday, Gary Hamilton and Daryl Fordyce, but it was never going to be enough, and Mark Dickson scored Linfield's third in the final minute to start the party started at Seaview.
The title is the sixth in 11 seasons for Linfield manager David Jeffrey and is the first time any club has won three in a row since Linfield themselves won six consecutive championships from 1982 to 1987. Linfield now aim for a third consecutive League and Irish Cup double in the Irish Cup final against Coleraine FC. Tommy Wright, meanwhile, has stepped down as manager of Ballymena United FC after three seasons in charge.
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