The disappointment was plain to see on Coleraine captain David Ogilby’s face following the final whistle on Saturday.
However, the big centre back admitted the progression of the club this season has been impressive.
“It doesn’t feel like it at this moment in time but it has been a great season,” said Ogilby.
“Six of the guys who started today are 21 or under so this experience is invaluable.
“We can’t have any complaints about today, Linfield were better than us, and we didn’t threaten them enough.
“It’s disappointing, there has been big hype building up here all week. It just didn’t happen for us today for one reason or another.
“We can’t be too hard on ourselves though, when we zoom out and look at the season as a whole, we reached the semi final of one competition, the final of the other, we finished third in the league and qualified for Europe.It doesn’t feel like it at the minute but it has been a decent season.
“Our young players know what a cup final is all about now, all the build up and hype before it, and they will be better for it.
“They are obviously disappointed at the minute, but after a week or two we’ll dust ourselves down and going again.
“We’re back in again in four weeks time to start our preparations for Europe, so once the first training session is done it will all be forgotten about and the focus will all be on next season.
“They will use that hurt though to fire them on in seasons to come. It’s not nice but we have to try and harness that feeling.
“We’re very disappointed for the supporters, they have put a big effort in too.
“But as I say we’ll use that to our advantage once the cup starts again in January.”
The Coleraine defence had been very solid all season, but on Saturday they came up against an in-form Andy Waterworth, who became the first man to bag himself an Irish Cup final hat-trick since Billy McAvoy in 1969.
“I’ve marked Andy over the last ten years and that’s the best I’ve saw him playing to be honest,” said Ogilby. “He picked his time well!”