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Irish Cup Final: Linfield 3 Coleraine 0 - Rampant Andy Waterworth seals win with hat-trick

Healy completes a thrilling season for the Blues

By Alex Mills

Andy Waterworth was the toast of Linfield for the second successive week as his fantastic hat-trick earned David Healy’s  team the Tennent’s Irish Cup.

Seven days ago, the 31 year old hit a glorious treble to guarantee the Blues the Premiership title. And, he was again in unplayable form in the showcase game of the season in front of 12,500 fans at sunny Windsor Park.

It’s the first time the Blues achieved the ‘double’ since 2012 -- and it was fully deserved because they dominated this final right from the off.

It was the Linfield who asked all the early questions and it took a wonderful save from Chris Johns to rescue the Bannsiders after only four minutes.

Jamie Mulgrew picked out the towering Mark Haughey and his thumping header was superbly flipped over the crossbar by the alert shot-stopper.

Coleraine responded with Jimmy Callacher conceding a free kick following a wrestling bout with Eoin Bradley. But Brad Lyons could only manage to thump a 35 yard effort well over the top.

However, it was the Blues who dominated the remainder of the opening session and Aaron Burns really should have had his team in front on 21 minutes when he scooped his shot over the crossbar following a great solo dash down the left by Matty Clarke.

Then, two minutes later Mark Stafford missed an absolute sitter only four yards out  when he failed to connect with a Burns header following a teasing corner kick from Niall Quinn.

It was all Linfield at this stage. Paul Smyth’s persistence on the right created a chance for Lowry whose looping header landed in the roof of the netting with Johns struggling.

But the breakthrough goal duly arrived on 29 minutes from that man Waterworth.

He sent little Smyth racing clear on the right and when he pulled th ball back the big striker was there to apply the finishing touch.

Incredibly, he struck again within four minutes. This time Burns produced a piece of magic inside the box, flicking the ball over the head of Gareth McConaghie. His shot was beaten away by Johns, but Waterworth pounced to steer the ball into the empty net.

The Blues carried on where they left off after the break, with Quinn threading a pass to Clarke, whose fierce left-footed drive was saved by Johns at the near post.

Quinn then launched a free kick to the back post after Smyth had been hauled down by Adam Mullan, but Callcher’s header was high and wide.

Coleraine had a sniff at the other end. Darren McCauley’s cross was nodded on by Cairon Harkin for Jamie McGonigle, whose flick header arrowed over the top.

But it was the Blues who put the fizz into the champagne three minutes from time when Smyth took off on another lightning break down the right and when he cross, that man Waterworth was there to complete his hat-trick.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Harkin, Ogilby McCauley, McLaughlin (Parkhill 51), McConaghie, Lyons, McGonigle (Allan 82), Bradley.

Unused subs: Douglas, McCafferty, Doherty.

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Lowry, Burns (Stewart 82), Clarke, Mulgrew, Quinn, Smyth (Casement 88).

Unused subs: Millar, Ward, Deane.

Referee: Keith Kennedy.

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