Programme article reviewing a famous Billy Murray hat-trick in 5-2 'Big Two' comeback win

Posted : 17th April 2017 at 23:03:42

On Tuesday night at Windsor Park Linfield chairman Roy McGivern will present Billy Murray with the Torrans Trophy.

In the first of 3 programme articles recalling great Billy Murray games, reproduces an article that was published in 'Look at Linfield' for a home game against Ards on January 24, 2014.

The Games that Made our History – by Roy McGivern
Linfield v Glentoran, Ulster Cup, October 2 1982

In the next game in this series of great Linfield games, we look at a Moran’s Ulster Cup tie against Big Two rivals Glentoran in the 1982/83 season.

Normally, you would not expect such a routine game to make a list of the club’s 25 greatest games. However, for anyone who was privileged to be at Windsor Park on that special Saturday afternoon, it was pure heaven. It was also the day that a certain Billy Murray wrote himself into Linfield folklore but more of that later.

The Blues had finished the previous season on a real high capturing four trophies, including a league and cup double. Hopes were high of another successful season which traditionally kicked off with the Ulster Cup played in a league format. It had not been a good start for Linfield, however and they entered the Big Two game on the back of three successive defeats including a disappointing 1-0 reverse away to Albanian side Nentori in the European Cup. The Ulster Cup game marked a significant milestone for young striker Martin McGaughey. He finished the previous campaign as the League’s top scorer with 29 goals and Saturday 2nd October marked his 100th appearance in the famous royal blue jersey.

Glentoran were also returning to action after a midweek European tie against Banik Ostrava. They started the game much better though and stunned the large home support with a two goal blast in the opening ten minutes. Firstly, Barney Blowers floated a corner in from the right and, when Ron Manley’s shot was parried by George Dunlop, Johnny Jameson reacted quickly to force the ball over the line. Before Linfield had time to recover from that early blow, it was 2-0. Jameson crossed the ball into the box. It was missed by Dunlop and Gerry Mullan headed it into the empty net. What a start for the East Belfast side and there looked to be no way back for the Blues.

The score line remained 2-0 until the half time break and there was no indication of the drama that was to follow. Play was briefly held up at the start of the second half as a number of missiles were thrown from the Spion Kop, as the teams re-emerged. Linfield almost fell further behind but a Ron Manley effort was thankfully disallowed for offside. This spurred the home side into action and the comeback began on 54 minutes. Trevor Anderson produced a fine cross which Dermot Keely was unable to clear and Martin McGaughey shot on the turn past Paterson to give the Blues a lifeline. Three minutes later and they were level. Anderson was again the provider with a low cross which evaded everyone but Billy Murray at the back post who squeezed the ball into the net from a narrow angle. Now we had a game on our hands.

The scene was set for a dramatic finale and Linfield didn’t disappoint. They took the lead in the 66th minute and ace marksman McGaughey was again in the right place to receive a Murray pass and fire the ball home. The home fans were now in ecstasy but the scoring was not finished. A defensive blunder by Keely allowed Anderson to set the ball up for Murray and he made no mistake to make it 4-2, with only a few minutes left. With the Glentoran fans streaming from the ground, Murray headed home a Stephen McKee free kick to make it 5-2 and record a truly memorable hat-trick. Minto clearly recognised the significance of the moment as he removed his shirt and ran to the adoring Linfield fans with it twirling above his head.

One of the greatest ever Linfield comebacks was complete and McGaughey and Murray were simply too good for a punch drunk Glentoran defence. Manager Roy Coyle saluted his never say die heroes after the game:< “The character of the side today was unbelievable. Glentoran’s defensive discipline seemed to vanish and every time we went forward in the second half it looked like we might score. We required a good result today and what better way to get it than against the old enemy.”

The late, great Malcolm Brodie summed up the incredible Linfield performance in his Ireland’s Saturday Night report. “If ever a team revealed its character and fighting spirit it was Linfield in this dramatic Ulster Cup tie. An amazing match in every respect as the Blues stormed back from two goals down to record a memorable 5-2 victory.“

Glentoran somehow recovered from this devastating defeat to win the Ulster Cup in the 82/83 season but, for Linfield fans, the 2nd October 1982 will live long in the memory.

For the record the Linfield team that day was: Dunlop, Mooney, McCartney, Walsh, Gibson, McKeown, McKee, Doherty, McGaughey, Murray, Anderson. Sub: Crawford.

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