Linfield claim seventh title in nine years

Linfield FC have claimed a 51st Northern Irish title and their seventh crown in nine years thanks to a 2-1 victory against second-placed Portadown FC at Windsor Park.

Linfield celebrate their 51st title and a seventh in nine seasons
Linfield celebrate their 51st title and a seventh in nine seasons ©Press Eye (Belfast)

Linfield FC have secured a 51st Northern Irish title and their seventh crown in nine years courtesy of a narrow victory against Portadown FC.

The Blues defeated second-placed Portadown 2-1 at Windsor Park to open up an unassailable 15-point lead at the summit with just four games remaining. Jamie Mulgrew scored a dramatic late winner to set the seal on a ninth championship in David Jeffrey's 15-year tenure.

"I am delighted and ecstatic," said Jeffrey, who has now won 29 trophies with the Belfast club since taking charge in January 1997. "I am really pleased we have done the business and it is a credit to the players – their focus and desire has been immense. There is a great team spirit at this club and the players know they are all in this together.

"They know if they win games together, they will win trophies and they will earn contracts," he added. "This club demands success and expectation levels are huge. This is a tough, tough place to manage, and the expectation levels continue to rise. I'm just pleased we have delivered another title."

Linfield captain Michael Gault also expressed his delight. "Our target at the start of every season is to win the league and it's terrific to get there with a few games in hand," he said. "Portadown and Cliftonville put pressure on us at various stages of the season, but we have led from the front and it's great to get over the line."

Linfield FC are on course for a sixth domestic double in seven seasons but will have to get past Newry City FC in the Irish Cup semi-finals if they are reach the 5 May final, where Crusaders FC lie in wait.