Three minutes of peerless Peter Thompson finishing killed off Coleraine's hopes of being the biggest party-poopers in town and turned the JJB Sports Irish Cup Final on it's head.The pain was there for all to see as Marty Quinn slumped into his chair in front of the assembled media corps on Saturday evening.
Three minutes of peerless Peter Thompson finishing killed off Coleraine's hopes of being the biggest party-poopers in town and turned the JJB Sports Irish Cup Final on it's head.
At half-time though Quinn and the Bannsiders' fans were pinching themselves as Paddy McLaughlin's 19th minute goal was scant reward for their near total domination of the opening period.
Missed chances coupled with the fatal mistake of nodding off twice with ace predator Thompson loitering with intent around the box and the dream was over.
But given the nightmare that Quinn and co. have had to endure over the past few years they can rightly bask in the glory of giving Linfield the biggest scare they've had in many a day.
That though will mean little to Quinn, a man desperate to bring success to the Showgrounds outfit, and he is confident that it won't be too long before there are blue and white ribbons on some silverware.
"Whilst we were beaten, I've asked the boys to keep their heads up and remember their own individual contributions," he said.
"I don't think there are too many in there who have to question their own contribution. I thought they were all outstanding, they all worked very hard and it's a credit to the team that when they're coming off the park that the Linfield fans are applauding you.
"It wasn't to be and we just have to lift ourselves, lick our wounds and let's celebrate Coleraine still being Coleraine and being in the Irish Cup Final.
"We don't have the cup to go home with but we have pride in our pockets."
He admitted that his fears of a Blues' backlash came true when Thompson bagged his brace of cool finishes in the 49th and 52nd minutes.
"I said to the boys in the dressing room that they (Linfield) are going to get a bit of a rollicking and they'll come out firing, so let's weather the storm for the first 15 minutes and go on and win the cup but it didn't happen.
"The goals were two bad ones, I can still see them in my head, and they hurt. Mistakes were made but I still had the self-belief that we could get an equaliser but it wasn't to be.
"I've told the players to be magnanimous in defeat and not go into a sulk because we'll be back again.
"I'm proud of my players and couldn't ask any more of them. If we'd been beaten 5-0 and hadn't performed we would have been slipping out under the door but that's not the case.
"I can tell my players to go out with their heads held high and we'll have a party."
With Quinn at the helm it may not be too long before they are partying once again by the Bann.