Oxford Sunnyside boss Paddy McGrory full of pride after spirited Irish Cup display against Linfield

Oxford Sunnyside boss Paddy McCrory insisted his boys could blow out their chest with pride following a heroic Irish Cup performance against Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 3:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th January 2022, 3:43 pm

It was the ultimate David versus Goliath collision – the unfashionable Mid Ulster side given little hope against David Healy’s Premiership aristocrats, who are not only League champions but Irish Cup holders.

Although they shipped four goals – the first seconds before the interval and the last in injury time – Oxford fully deserved the ovation they received from both sets of supporters as they trooped off at the finish.

Kyle McClean broke the deadlock just before the break with Martin Donnelly, Andrew Clarke and new boy Ethan Devine all on the mark in the second half. The Blues will now face Larne at Inver Park in the next round in early February. But it was McCrory who was beaming from ear to ear on the final blast of referee Ben McMaster’s whistle.

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Linfield's Martin Donnelly and Ethan Devine celebrate the 4-0 win against Oxford Sunnyside.

“We knew it was going to be one of those days we would have to put bodies on the line,” said McCrory. “We were under no illusions; we knew it would be backs to the wall.

“The build-up to the game was crazy... it certainly wasn’t a normal week for us. Everyone at the club was caught up in the excitement of the cup tie.

“We tried to keep our heads down and focus on the game, but because of the magnitude of the match, it was difficult.

“We have never been here (Windsor Park) before and, if I’m being honest, we are unlikely to get back again, so we had to try and enjoy occasion – which we did.

“The players had their families at the game, I had my own kids up with us. It has been a fantastic journey for the club.”

Linfield boss Healy insisted his team produced a ‘professional’ job in difficult circumstances.

“We were probably in a no-win situation - had we won 10, it would have been expected,” he said. “Sometimes you are in situations like that. Certainly, at Linfield we are in a no-win scenario at times regardless of whether we are playing against Oxford or a team in the top flight.

“It was job done. I thought we were professional in what we did. Oxford were organised and worked their socks off.

“The most important thing is cup football is putting yourself in the next round.”

LINFIELD: Johns, Callacher, Millar, Stewart, M Clarke (McCoubrey 79), McClean (Archer 70), Fallon (Mulgrew 70), Donnelly, Quinn, Salam (Devine 70) A Clarke (Montgomery 79).

Unused subs: Byrne, Newberry.

OXFORD SUNNYSIDE: McKerr, McVeigh, Rodgers, Bell (Soares 81), Skelton, McCann, Burns (Callaghan 64) Mackle, McAlinden (Coleman 81), Toland (Rogers 81), Mullen (Campbell 52).

Unused subs: Finlay, McCorry.

REFEREE: Ben McMaster.