IRISH CUP COMMENT: Fans flourish in colourful final
Blue and white dominated the National Stadium backdrop to Saturday's Irish Cup final as 12,551 fans turned out in force to cheer on Coleraine and Linfield.
The largest Irish Cup final attendance since 2001 provided plenty of colour and noise.
Coleraine’s first appearance on the grand stage in nine years was reflected in a vocal fanbase as thousands hit the road in hope of a dream finale to a season packed with highlights.
Andy Waterworth’s hat-trick settled the final in the favour of Linfield but Coleraine attracted widespread praise for such passionate backing from the stands across the game.
It was acknowledged by the Bannsiders at the final whistle as players sent shirts into the Coleraine crowd as a measure of thanks and took time out of reflection and regret over the missed opportunity to applaud the members of Oran Kearney’s Blue And White Army.
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Coleraine players were consoled by family and friends as Linfield celebrations centred on the achievement of a league-and-cup ‘double’ to go alongside the County Antrim Shield.
Chants of “Healy”, “Healy”, “Healy” proved a familiar sound at the venue during the current Linfield manager’s past playing career for Northern Ireland. On Saturday it provided the Blues boss with a mark of respect from the Linfield crowd as the main architect behind this season’s drive for glory.