Current First Team Coach and former player, Darren Murphy has been sharing his memories from Linfield’s Setanta Cup success 15 years ago and said Linfield had the belief to upset the odds that night.
“It’s hard to believe it was 15 years ago. We met up on the Friday, travelled down to Dublin on the bus and stayed in Malahide. On the day of the game we trained in the morning, led by the management team of David Jeffrey, Bryan McLaughlin and Alfie Wylie. But when we returned for the pre-match meal and team meeting, I felt there was a real sense of determination and belief within the squad that we were going to go on and win the game.
“We then got the bus to Tolka Park and upon arriving I remember sensing the atmosphere, you knew there was a big crowd inside and a buzz for the game. Walking out the tunnel, looking to our right hand side it was unbelievable to see how many Linfield supporters had made that journey.”
‘Murph’ played the full 90 minutes at left back and helped Linfield to a very impressive clean sheet – something which he said wasn’t appreciated enough at the time against a great team.
“I don’t think we got the credit we deserved that night. We kept a clean sheet against a top side which Shelbourne were at that time. The two legends, Ferguson and Thompson went on to score the goals and bring the trophy home.
“Having the opportunity to celebrate with the Linfield fans after the game was magic and something I’ll remember for a long, long time. We went back to the hotel and of course the celebrations continued. But for me, the best part of it all was the journey home. We were all on the bus together; players, staff, management and Directors. It was an unbelievable journey from Dublin to Belfast.
“I am so honoured and privileged to have played a part in that bit of history for Linfield in becoming the first team to win the Setanta Cup and it’s something that I’ll remember for a long, long time. I just want to thank the fans for turning up that night and believing in us after what had been a difficult season after what had happened in the league.”
As the former left back states, it proved to be his Last appearance in a Linfield shirt. What a way to bow out!
“I was just glad to be part of something where we could give you a wee bit back. It will stand out for me because it was my final game for Linfield, and a lot of players don’t get the opportunity to say goodbye the way I did.”