Predictably deja phew for Linfield
It was a routine which had served them well before but, unfortunately for Crusaders, Linfield had a few omens of their own to call upon in their pursuit of Irish Cup glory.
Two years ago, the Crues claimed the trophy thanks to a goal early in the second-half of their showpiece with Cliftonville — and, for so long yesterday, it looked as though history was set to be repeated.
A free-kick from wide was headed away from goal and into the path of a perfectly-placed Hatchetman, who crashed home an unstoppable volley. For Mark Dickson in 2009, read Declan Caddell in 2011 — but would it really be enough?
Were it not for the 63rd minute introduction of Jamie Mulgrew then the answer would have almost certainly been yes and the Shore Road would be waking up this morning with the mother of all party hangovers.
Linfield never go down without a fight, however, and, as far as Peter Thompson and the Irish Cup are concerned, defeat is simply not in the dictionary — and the Blues’ 125th anniversary season wasn’t the time for a re-write.
For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.