Former Linfield attacker, Davy Larmour has been speaking to Linfield Official Media on the 15th anniversary of The Blues’ historic Setanta Cup triumph in Dublin.
“My experience of the Setanta Cup final was unbelievable. From meeting on the Friday night at Windsor, travelling down to Dublin and playing cards; the atmosphere was brilliant and everyone had a good laugh. After checking into the hotel we got something to eat and got to bed early because we knew the next day was the big day.
“We were up early, got breakfast and did an hour of training and I think that’s when everyone started to believe that we could give it a good go in the match. Big Davy (David Jeffrey) did some speaking and after he’d finished, you knew everyone was up for it.
“We went back to the hotel, got everything sorted and had a pre-match meal, and I think the FA Cup final was on that day – Arsenal were playing Manchester United, so, there was a bit of banter there because Noel Bailie supports Arsenal and the likes of ‘Spike’ (Glenn Ferguson),‘Winkie’ (William Murphy) and Andy Hunter support Manchester United. We had to leave the hotel before it finished because it went into extra-time and we were listening to it on the way to the match.
“On the way to the ground everyone was in good spirits, talking about what might happen and we were all getting a few messages and phonecalls from fans and relatives to wish us all the best. We had the FA Cup final commentary on and Arsenal won on penalties, so there was good atmosphere amongst the squad on the bus.
“Arriving at the ground there were very few Linfield fans because they were still obviously on their way to the ground but it was a brilliant day, the sun was splitting the trees. The boys were out walking around the pitch and you could just feel the tension, because you knew it was a big match for Shelbourne, as well as for us.”
Boyhood Blueman Larmour explains the inner belief Linfield had that night, knowing the quality they possessed in the team.
“When the match started, all the nerves went away. The boys put a good shift in and Shelbourne were on top in stages, but as were we. I think we scored the goals at the right times and it knocked them back a bit but we knew their fitness as a full-time team would tell in the second half. But when you’ve got Noel Bailie and William Murphy at the back, Glenn Ferguson and Peter Thompson up front, Paul McAreavey and the young legs of Michael Gault in midfield, we knew we could hold on.”
The attacker played the last 13 minutes, coming on as a substitute to replace goal-scorer Peter Thompson to help see the game out when Linfield had changed to a 4-5-1 formation, and he shares some funny stories regarding the celebrations!
“Thankfully, we did hold on and I got on for 13 minutes or so at the end of the game.
After the game, everyone just went mad. As you can see in pictures, I spotted a fan with a big flag and I lifted it ran the full length of the pitch! When you see friends and relatives in the crowd, and at that time my future father-in-law singing and having a good time, that’s when it hits home what you’ve achieved.
“After the match we went back to the hotel, had a few drinks and went around a few wee bars down near the hotel and ‘Feeno’ (Lee Feeney) turned up! There were a few Shelbourne ones in one of the bars, so we had a drink with them and spoke about the match. When we headed back to the hotel, I’m not sure what time it was at, but we were getting up the next morning feeling a bit rough. I was
rooming with ‘Spike’ at the time and we decided to go down to a garage to see if we could get another couple of beers, but you could only get a bacon bap! The weather was brilliant that morning so we sat at the marina and of course, both of us fell asleep...the next minute, someone had reported that they’d thought there was two fellas lying dead! We had our Linfield tracksuits on so that we were ready to head back to Belfast and we were told to go back to the hotel and ‘Big Davy’ (Jeffrey) got the bar opened for us, so we had another couple of beers.”
“The bus from Dublin back to Belfast was brilliant and involved cards, everyone singing, cheering and different things and also that day was the ‘Helicopter Sunday’ with Rangers and Celtic going for the title. Rangers won it and that made things even more special with the banter with Paul McAreavey. The whole weekend is something I’ll never ever forget and it’ll always be remembered, especially in my household.
“The previous two weeks since the day of the league decider set us up for the following season when we’d go on to do the ‘Clean Sweep’ of trophies. Thankfully, we were able to do something for the fans after what had happened two weeks prior. I wanted to thank them for coming down to Dublin and driving us on. I want to thank Linfield for giving me the opportunity to play in the game, and I hope everyone really enjoyed it.”