Today is a proud and special day for Linfield FC.
The Danske Bank NIFL Women’s Premier League Trophy will be presented for the third year in a row to Linfield captain Sarah Venney after today’s 1pm kick off against Crusaders. It’s the final game in a demanding season in league, cup and European competition.
Show your support for our ‘Back to Back to Back’ Premier League Champions, as they proudly lift the trophy that will lead to a third successive season of UEFA Champions League action in August next year.
Today will be the first occasion when a trophy presentation takes place at the club’s superb New Midgley Park facility and the venue has been prepared in readiness, with smart new signage from the league sponsors, ahead of the presentation of the Danske Bank / NIFL trophy in front of the BBC cameras.
Linfield Ladies are proudly sponsored by Discount Blinds.
The player of the Match award in today’s game is proudly sponsored by Ronnie Morrison.
Today is the third occasion the Danske Bank / NIFL Premier League Trophy will have been presented and while there has been only one captain to receive the trophy, there have been 3 different Linfield managers and the presentation will have taken place at 3 different Linfield home venues.
The first Linfield manager to be in charge of a league champion Linfield Ladies team was Ryan McConville in 2016 and he was followed a year later by David Welshman, while the manager of the 2018 Premier League Champions is Phil Lewis.
In 2016 Linfield were the runaway winners and clinched the title very early, after a 4-0 win against Cliftonville in July.
The trophy presentation took place after a 3-1 win against Mid Ulster at Windsor Park, with Abbie Magee memorably scoring a hat trick, not long before she was to score the last minute Irish Cup final winner against Cliftonville at the Kop end of the same ground.
The 2017 title race was a much closer affair and it went right to the wire. Linfield trailed Newry City by a point going into the final league game which was a ‘winner takes all’ clash with Newry at Rathmore.
Linfield’s Wednesday game with Newry took place 2 days after the final of 3 intense UEFA Champions League games but Linfield stormed to a 4-1 victory in the title decider to clinch back to back title success.
The trophy presentation took place at Rathmore after the top 2 ‘head to head’ that sealed the title success.
And so to the 2018 title success that will be celebrated today.
A long season which has seen Linfield compete in all three domestic cup finals, as well as a demanding UEFA Champions League campaign will draw to a close with today’s final league game.
The title was clinched famously after a 5-3 win at the Oval on September 28 - Linfield’s first ever win at the Oval and even more remarkable due to the 3-0 interval deficit which was overturned by the champions.
And so the presentation will take place at the 3rd different Linfield home venue - Windsor Park, folllwed by Rathmore and today by New Midgley Park.
Trophy presentations never become boring or routine and indeed, today’s will be even more extra special.
Of course, the first title success was incredibly special because it was the first and because of the clinical way it was obtained.
The second title success will be forever special because of the final day drama in overturning Newry’s league lead in the final game to snatch the title from their grasp.
And the third title success will be forever special for several reasons. Firstly, the challenge presented by Cliftonville and Glentoran was strong and pushed Linfield to the limits. Secondly, the stunning 5-3 comeback win at the Oval to clinch the title will live long in the memory.
But the third reason will not be lost on anyone at New Midgley Park when the trophy and medals are handed out to the family club today.
Receiving their hard earned medals will be 2 of our star players who have sustained serious long term injuries during the course of a long and demanding season.
Firstly, star striker Alison Smyth suffered a horrible double leg break during a league game away to Sion Swifts on July 6 and everyone at this club continues to wish her every success with her rehabilitation.
Secondly, star keeper Lauren Perry suffered a cruciate injury while on international dury in a friendly game agsinst Hungary and again everyone at this club wishes her well on the long road to recovery.
So, this title success has been one that has been earned at a cost but the players have been driven to win the title for their injured team mates and in years to come, they will no doubt recall that they won the league for Ally and for Lauren.
A good number of members of the Linfield Ladies Youth Academy will be in attendance to support our Premier League Champion Linfield team today and hopefully, a good number of regular and new Linfield supporters will also turn out today, to congratulate and celebrate a stunning and exceptional Champion Linfield team and their hard earned but thoroughly deserved third in a row Premier League title success.
Linfield FC salutes our 2018 Premier League Champions and wishes everyone a truly Champion day at New Midgley Park today.
Kick off is at 1pm and there will be a collection in support of the club’s official charity - the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
Audaces Fortuna Juvat