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County Antrim Shield: Beaten Linfield will strike back, promises David Healy

By Graham Luney

Published 13/01/2016

Missed opportunity: Jonny Frazer can’t believe it as another chance goes begging against Ballymena United
Missed opportunity: Jonny Frazer can’t believe it as another chance goes begging against Ballymena United

David Healy believes his players will regroup quickly and resume their Premiership title bid with fierce determination after suffering County Antrim Shield final heartbreak last night.

Ballymena United stunned the Blues 3-2, denying Healy his first trophy as Linfield boss.

The Blues went into the Windsor Park showdown as favourites and on a high after dumping United out of the Irish Cup at the weekend but Glenn Ferguson's men danced on the pitch with the glittering prize at the finish.

Goals from Paddy McNally, David Cushley and Eoin Kane were decisive as only Guy Bates and Mark Stafford could reply and the woodwork denied Linfield twice in added time.

Healy was gutted to wave farewell to his first major shot at silverware but he backed his shattered players to come out fighting.

"The players were on a decent run and they are well aware of what is expected from them," said Northern Ireland's record goal scorer. "It's not nice when teams win trophies, especially on your own patch, but you've got to congratulate Ballymena United."

It was a game of fine margins and Linfield will consider themselves unlucky but Healy knew his side were also guilty of some hesitant defending.

He added: "I was still hopeful we could grab a goal near the end and we threw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn't to be.

"They have been beaten twice by us in the last few weeks and on Saturday but they battled well. Tonight was important for me as it would have put down a marker and you always want to win trophies. I said it three weeks ago when we played Ballymena we would probably lose one of the games as it's the way football is, it's hard to dominate all the time."

Healy couldn't hide his frustration but acknowledged a huge effort from the Braidmen.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016
Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena's celebrate as they lift the shield after winning 2-3.
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena's celebrate as they lift the shield after winning 2-3. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena's Eoin Kane celebrates after scoring to make it 1-3. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena's Eoin Kane celebrates after scoring to make it 1-3. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's David Cushley celebrates winning the County Antrim Shield after defeating Linfield in the final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Tony Kane celebrates winning the County Antrim Shield after defeating Linfield in the final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena players celebrate winning the County Antrim Shield after defeating Linfield in the final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena's Eoin Kane celebrates after scoring to make it 1-3. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Ballymenas Paddy McNally scores during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Linfields Mark Haughey and Ballymenas William Faulkner during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Linfields Jimmy Callacher and Ballymenas Alan Blayney during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Ballymenas Paddy McNally scores during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Ballymenas Paddy McNally scores during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Linfields Kirk Millar and Ballymenas William Faulkner during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/2016 Linfield v Ballymena United Co Antrim Shield final Linfields Andrew Waterworth and Ballymenas Stephen McBride during this evenings game at Windsor park in Belfast. Photo Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Guy Bates celebrates scoring against Ballymena during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Guy Bates celebrates scoring against Ballymena during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Guy Bates celebrates scoring against Ballymena during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Guy Bates celebrates scoring against Ballymena during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Guy Bates with Ballymena's Alan Blayney and Paddy McNally during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Mark Haughey with Ballymena's Willie Faulkner during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Jimmy Callacher with Ballymena's Alan Blayney during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Kirk Millar with Ballymena's Willie Faulkner during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Andrew Waterworth with Ballymena's Jim Ervin during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew with Ballymena's Jim Ervin during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Mark Stafford with Ballymena's Allan Jenkins during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Andrew Waterworth with Ballymena's Stephen McBride during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Linfield's Sean Ward with Ballymena's Tony Kane during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Ballymena's Paddy McNally celebrates scoring against Linfield during Tuesday's County Antrim Shield final at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Linfield's Kirk Millar with Ballymena's Stephen McBride. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Linfield's Andy Waterworth with Ballymena's Jim Ervin. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Ballymena celebrate after scoring to make it 0-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Linfield's Kirk Millar with Ballymena's William Faulkner. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th January 2016 Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield Final at Windsor Park Belfast. Linfield Vs Ballymena. Linfield's Sean Ward with Ballymena's Alan Jenkins. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

"Fair play, they worked hard and showed character, they are a credit to their boss," added Healy. "The goals were disappointing and Cushley's goal was a killer because we were on top.

"The third one was poor defending as well, I could see where the player (Eoin Kane) was going to go and the lad finished it well. This is disappointing but we'll have to pick ourselves up."

Belfast Telegraph

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