Irish Cup final 2016: Glenavon beat Linfield 2-0

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI
Irish Cup highlights; Glenavon 2-0 Linfield

Goals from Kevin Braniff and Andy Hall either side of half-time saw Glenavon lift the Irish Cup for the second time in three years by beating Linfield 2-0.

Braniff fired home left-footed at the back post from Eoin Bradley's exquisite left-footed cross into the area.

Hall picked up a loose ball and saw his shot deflected off Matthew Clarke into the bottom corner for the second.

It is the Lurgan Blues' seventh success in the competition but Blues boss David Healy still awaits his first trophy.

Relive Glenavon's Irish Cup win over Linfield

Stephen Lowry and Andy Kilmartin contend for possession during the first half at Windsor Park
Stephen Lowry and Andy Kilmartin contend for possession during the first half at Windsor Park

More disappointment for Blues

Northern Ireland's record international goalscorer took charge in October but saw his side lose to Ballymena United in the County Antrim Shield decider in January, both finals taking place at their home ground, Windsor Park.

Linfield's trophy drought dates back to March 2014, when the south Belfast side beat Crusaders on penalties to collect the Shield in former manager David Jeffrey's final season in charge.

They have not won the Irish Cup since they completed the double in 2012.

Linfield had the better of the early chances, with Andrew Waterworth seeing an effort blocked and Jonathan Tuffey showing good reflexes to save Stephen Lowry's flicked effort with his right leg.

Gary Hamilton's team came back into the game and Joel Cooper's curling ball into the area almost found the top left hand corner.

Eoin Bradley protests after having a first half 'goal' disallowed
Eoin Bradley protests after having a first half 'goal' disallowed

Glenavon strike twice after disallowed 'goal'

Bradley had the ball in the net but referee Raymond Hetherington blew up for a foul by Ciaran Martyn on goalkeeper Gareth Deane.

Braniff, whose four goals against Crusaders in the semi-final secured his club's place in the showpiece occasion of the season, broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time with a clinical finish from Bradley's perfectly executed right-wing delivery.

Hall's strike three minutes into the second half came off the legs of the unfortunate Clarke and the 2014 winners never looked likely to relinquish their advantage thereafter.

Aaron Burns went closest for Linfield with a free-kick which was pushed over by Tuffey, while Braniff sqaundered a good opportunity to give the final scoreline an even more convincing look when he fired wide with just Deane to beat.

The victory completes another successful season for Hamilton and his players, who had already secured their place in the Europa League by finishing third in the Premiership for the second successive season, one place behind Linfield.

What they said

Man-of-the-match Kevin Braniff: "We were told to go and press high up the pitch but while we were maybe a bit sloppy in the first 15 minutes , we went on to control the game.

"There weren't many clearcut chances in the game but we took ours and that was the key.

"We scored our goals at the best possible time and to beat Linfield on their home patch makes it even sweeter."

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton: "Every one of our players was excellent today and the supporters were like an extra man.

"That's two Irish Cups now and it feels great. It's a great day for everyone at the club."

How they lined up

Glenavon: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Patton, Braniff, Martyn (capt).

Subs: Lindsay, Sykes, McGrory, Hamilton, Kearns

Linfield: Deane, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (capt), Lowry, Burns, Ward, M Clarke, Mulgrew, Gaynor, Smyth

Subs: Glendinning, Stafford, Millar, Fallon, Quinn

Referee: Raymond Hetherington

Attendance: 11,500

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