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David Healy's blue heaven with County Antrim Shield victory

Boss hails heroes as Linfield savour Shield triumph

By Graham Luney

David Healy toasted his first trophy as a manager last night and then expressed a hope that this County Antrim Shield success is the start of another successful chapter in the club's history.

Goals from Cameron Stewart, Mark Stafford and Stephen Lowry killed off Crusaders at the Ballymena Showgrounds, with Jordan Owens' first half header merely a consolation.

Paul Heatley was also sent off for an elbow on Stafford in the 31st minute but there was no fightback as Healy, sitting in the stand while serving his touchline ban, celebrated his first piece of silverware as Blues chief since taking charge in October, 2015.

"I was never one for individual awards but hopefully this trophy is a very important one for the club in years to come," said Healy, who tasted final heartbreak when his men lost in last year's County Antrim Shield and Irish Cup deciders.

"Hopefully this is the first of many. This is a collective thing and I hope it means more to the club. It gives my players belief they can match Crusaders in a Cup final and we've matched them three times this season.

"I'm sure the Seaview Irish Cup game will be one to look forward to. This win is important for people at the club. It was David Jeffrey's and Roy Coyle's first trophy and I don't think I'll be in the job for 20 or 30 years but if I'm anywhere near their success I'll be doing alright.

"This is massive for players who haven't won a trophy. I was new to the club when there was negativity around losing finals. They knew they had to, somehow, get across the line."

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