Goals from Shayne Lavery and Joel Cooper helped Linfield defeat Larne 2-1 in the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final at Mourneview Park.
It's Linfield's 44th Irish Cup win, and keeps them on target to clinch a 25th league and cup double whereas, for Larne, their wait for cup glory goes on.
Both sides started the game full of energy and endeavour in front of a vociferous support as fans returned for the first time since late last year.
Linfield crafted an early chance through Cameron Palmer but Larne keeper Conor Mitchell did well to snuff out the threat.
🎥 🏆 #SadlersPeakyBlinderIrishCup @OfficialBlues pic.twitter.com/Ms1fJ8IDdh— Irish FA (@IrishFA) May 21, 2021
But that was just a taster of what was to come. Barely two minutes after that the Blues moved in front through Lavery after Niall Quinn delivered a corner from the right for the Northern Ireland international to get past his marker and poke the ball home from close range.
It was almost 2-0 just before the half-hour mark in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Again, a Quinn cross from the right caused problems in the area with Mitchell totally misjudging the flight of the ball, expecting it to go out only for it to hit him on the back and, fortunately for the keeper, go out for a corner rather than drop into the net.
However, Linfield did double their advantage just three minutes after that. On this occasion it fell to Conor Pepper to drill the ball across, it was missed by the onrushing Lavery but Cooper was poised to pounce to poke the ball home from the edge of the box.
Looking to kill the game off Linfield came storming out of the blocks at the start of the second half and almost added a third on 47 minutes after the ball reached Lavery in front of goal but his header was spectacularly kept out by Mitchell's flying save.
Another chance followed soon after with this time Kirk Millar being the provider for Cooper to connect with only to glance a header wide.
Larne knew they needed an early goal, and they almost grabbed it on 55 minutes when first David McDaid produced a superb stop from Chris Johns before, moments later, the ball was returned to Fuad Sule who almost found the net only for his powerful effort to clip the top of the crossbar.
Despite that Larne didn't really offer much else in front of goal despite plenty of industry and, indeed, almost fell further behind with just over ten minutes remaining when man-of-the-match Cooper got past Albert Watson but saw his subsequent shot charged down by Mitchell.
Larne deserved a consolation, and duly got it deep into stoppage time after a hopeful effort from Sule bobbled around the area before falling for skipper Jeff Hughes who duly pinged it past Chris Johns ... but unfortunately for Tiernan Lynch's side it was just too little, too late.
Larne: C. Mitchell, Watson, Robinson, Herron, Sule, Hale, Donnelly, Lynch, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis subs Kelly (not used), Randall (replaced Lynch 53), McDaid (replaced Donnelly 46), Scott (not used), A. Mitchell (not used), Wade Slater (not used), McMurray (replaced Hale 67)
Linfield: Johns, Haughey, Callacher, Millar, Lavery, Clarke, Mulgrew, Pepper, Quinn, Palmer, Cooper subs Moore (not used), Stafford (not used), Larkin (not used), Newberry (not used), Manzinga (replaced Lavery 74), Stewart (not used), Nasseri (not used)