Yesterday Linfield official media announced plans to broadcast As Live re-run Eir sport footage from the inaugural Setanta Cup Final on Saturday evening.
It was on this May 17 date exactly 15 years ago today that Linfield qualified for that day of destiny at Tolka park in Dublin.
And Linfield qualified in some style courtesy of this comfortable 4-2 win at the Oval which went some way to easing some of the pain endured at the same venue a few weeks earlier.
Linfield entered this group stages game on the back of home wins (1-0) against Longford and (3-2) against Glentoran, as well as a 2-1 reverse against Longford, so a positive result was needed at the Oval to send Linfield to the final in Dublin four days later against the winners of the other group in the competition.
To mark this 15th anniversary of the win at the Oval and as part of our build up to the As Live re run broadcast of the final on Saturday, Linfieldfc.com reproduces our original match report of the memorable Oval win which set Linfield and hundreds of fans on the road to Dublin and an unforgettable night of joy and glory.
Original match report follows
Glentoran v Linfield - May 17, 2005
The sight of only 400 Linfield fans inside the Oval for a ‘Big Two’ game was surreal. However, the sound of them singing “We’re all going to Dublin” with over half an hour to go, was something no Blueman would have believed before the game, but would of course have been secretly hoping for.
It was the visiting fans who were first on their feet to celebrate tonight’s opening goal in the sixth minute. The Blues won a corner on the left which Tim Mouncey floated on to the penalty spot. Glenn Ferguson climbed highest to fire in a strong header which Morris palmed in the direction of Paul McAreavey, and he made no mistake heading home from four yards at the Sydenham end.
Within one minute Linfield were on the attack again. Darren Murphy cut inside from the left, but his well struck shot from 16 yards could only find the side netting. On 18 minutes O’Kane delivered a good corner in from the right, but it was cleared before Thompson could get his head to it.
Linfield enjoyed the bulk of the possession through the middle of the half, and this was rewarded in the 28th minute. Glendinning fouled Mouncey 25 yards out on the right hand side. O’Kane swept a fantastic free kick to the back post to find William Murphy who headed the ball sweetly into the net.
Glentoran’s first clear cut chance came in the 32nd minute. Keegan was played through and just when he was lining up a shot 12 yards out, Douglas came in to belt the ball clear.
Linfield’s lead was extended even further in the 43rd minute of an amazing first half. Ferguson played the ball from the Linfield half to Thompson who set off on a great run from halfway. He made his way down the left before cutting inside. When he looked as though he was going to shoot, he slid the ball to his right and there was Ferguson to finish off the move he started with an eight yard sliding effort.
An unbelievable first half.
HALF TIME: GLENTORAN 0-3 LINFIELD
Linfield began the second half on fire. In the 48th minute O’Kane rattled the crossbar from 18 yards, and five minutes later Mouncey rattled the post from 15 yards. However, seconds following Mouncey’s effort, the Blues were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Mouncey stepped up and fired in as sweet a free kick as we have seen all season to make it four nil to the Blues.
On 62 minutes Lockhart pulled a goal back for the home side, after he struck a good shot from 12 yards which beat Mannus at his near post. Eleven minutes later, Glentoran pulled back another goal. Ward crossed from the right after Mouncey and O’Kane tripped over each other. No Linfield defender followed Holmes coming in at the back post, and he finished the move six yards out, giving Mannus no chance.
O’Kane almost added Linfield’s fifth in the 82nd minute, but his 20 yard effort went just over the bar. It was very close to finding the target. Holmes curled a 25 yard free kick just wide of the near post in the 84th minute for Glentoran.
And then six minutes later came the final whistle.
This victory, in what was Noel Bailie’s 800th game for Linfield, sends the Blues to Dublin on Saturday to meet Shelbourne in the Setanta Cup final at Tolka Park. A great fillip for the Blues, following the disappointment of missing out on the Irish League title. The Blues are now guaranteed at least £55,000 for making it to the final. Roll on Saturday.
FULL TIME: GLENTORAN 2-4 LINFIELD
The Linfield line up was Mannus, Douglas, W. Murphy, Bailie, D.Murphy, Mouncey, Gault (Picking, 57), McAreavey, O’Kane, Ferguson (Larmour, 71), Thompson (Campbell, 86).
The unused subs were
Shannon, Hunter, King and Ervin