The Biggest Local Game in 16 years
GLENTORAN Vs LINFIELD
Linfield 0 Glentoran 1
May 5th 2001
Glentoran youngster Michael Halliday is the toast of east Belfast following his extra-time Irish Cup Final winner which put paid to Linfield's hopes of a league and cup double.
20 year-old Halliday, who is in his first full season with the Glentoran, struck the winner nine minutes into extra-time. A corner from substitute Justin McBride was headed onto the bar by Tim McCann, the rebound fell to the feet of Halliday who had the simplest of tasks to tap the ball home from right on the goal line.
It set the green half of the 14,000 crowd, which squeezed itself into Windsor Park, wild with delight in a game which was a perfect advertisement for Irish League football.
The first real chance of the match came Linfield's way with barely a minute on the clock. Midfielder Jamie Marks heading just over the bar from a floated Gavin Arthur free-kick.
Seven minutes later Marks turned provider for Northern Ireland striker Glenn Ferguson, who also saw his header fly just inches over the Glentoran bar.
The east Belfast sides's first opportunity of note came on the quarter of an hour mark when full-back Colin Nixon ran at the Linfield rearguard to set up Darrin Lockhart, his shot however clipped defender Tommy McDonald to go for a corner
Linfield keeper Robert Robinson came to the Blues rescue mid-way through the opening period when he tipped a Darrin Fitzgerald shot over the crossbar.
In the closing minutes of the first half Glentoran keeper Alan Gough produced a magnificent double save, firstly to deny his own defender Paul Leeman and then to parry David Larmour's effort onto the crossbar to leave the match scoreless at the break.
Eleven minutes into the second period Linfield's Davy Larmour felt he should have had a penalty after the Glen's Gary Smyth had brought him down, however referee Leslie Irvine ignored appeals from the Blues players and waved play on.
On 73 minutes Robinson was once again Linfield's saviour when he produced another wonderful save from Fitzgerlad's low shot.
Then came the miss of the match, or perhaps even the season.
With just six minutes remaining Glentoran substitute Justin McBride shot across the Linfield goal with Halliday arriving at the near post it seemed the deadlock was about to be broken, but amazingly the youngster miskicked from two yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Linfield boss David Jeffrey brought on New Zealand bound striker Chris Morgan for full back John Easton at the start of the first period of extra time
And it was Morgan who wasted a great chance on 96 minutes when he shot tamely at Gough following an excellent cross from Northern Ireland under-21 winger Garth Scates.
Three minutes later though Halliday made up for his earlier glaring miss by grabbing the all important winner to ensure the Irish Cup went to east Belfast for the third time in just four seasons.
Glentoran: Gough, Nixon, Ferguson, Young, Leeman, Smyth, McCann, Halliday, Fitzgerald, Batey, Lockhart (62 McBride).
Linfield: Robinson, McDonald (88 Collier), Easton (90 Morgan), Marks, Murphy, Arthur, Larmour, Scates, Ferguson, Kelly (74 Beatty), Bailie.
Referee: Leslie "Linfield" Irvine (Limavady