Glentoran defender Sean Ward believes a lack of discipline in more ways than one was perhaps the reason why they are not celebrating becoming kings of Ireland.
The clash with Cork City, in which the Glens led but fell in the second half, got a little frantic towards the end with more than a few meaty challenges flying in.
But it was the inability to stick to their jobs that they ultimately paid the price for according to Ward.
“We started off so well, we knocked the ball about well and broke well and put them under pressure,” he said. “But in the second-half it just didn’t work. We have no arguments, they were the better team and the better team won the Cup. We gave away a lot of silly free-kicks and against a team like Cork who are big and strong and good from set-pieces, you will get punished and we did.
“But this is a learning curve for us and we didn’t help ourselves.
“I think we lost our discipline — not only our behavioural discipline but also our positional discipline.
“People started getting dragged out of position and that’s when we starting giving silly free-kicks away. I think we probably broke the Setanta free-kick record in the second-half and we played to their strengths by letting them launch balls into the box and put ourselves under pressure.
“We can sit and talk about playing different tactics or whatever but Cork’s skill levels were better than ours.”
There had been much said about the fact that the east Belfast men had to make a 500 plus mile round trip to play in the final.
However, Ward didn’t think that made a difference, despite the fact that one whole end lay empty as it had yet to be finished.
“The venue wasn’t a big problem. I thought the venue was good and the atmosphere from both sets of fans was fantastic,” he added.
Glens boss Alan McDonald was also in no doubt as to who the best team were on the night, though he didn’t feel that the fact his team were part-time was a factor in the defeat.
“We were 45 minutes away from a fairytale but it didn’t happen unfortunately,” he said. “It’s been a great journey — the players have been brilliant all the way through and there’s more positives than negatives. I’ve got to give full credit to Cork, they are a good outfit but for 45 minutes I though there wasn’t much in it. There wasn’t a noticable part-time, full-time difference.
“But sometimes you have to just praise the opposition and on the night did the better side win? Yes, they did.”