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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Steven Crawford

Larne make it a County Antrim hat-trick but win marred by David Walsh injury

Larne made it three County Antrim Shield wins in-a-row as they defeated Linfield 4-3 on penalties in an incident-packed final.

The game was marred by a serious injury to Blues goalkeeper David Walsh who required a lengthy period of treatment on the pitch at the end of 90 minutes following an innocuous coming together with Thomas Maguire.

Linfield had to play for an hour with ten men after Kyle McClean was sent off for a challenge on Leroy Millar.

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But manager David Healy and his assistant Ross Oliver were also dismissed by referee Shane Andrews in a feisty goalless affair..

It was on to penalties with Mark Randall netting the wining spot kick after Andrew Clarke and Michael Newberry had missed for the Blues.

Both sides went at it in the opening exchanges with the holders going close to an opener on 12 minutes.

Shea Gordon's dangerous cross was headed clear by Daniel Finlayson, but only as far as Lee Bonis and his first-time effort was flicked wide by Millar in front of goal.

As we moved towards the half hour the touch paper was lit following a challenge by McClean on Millar with both sets of players and benches reacting.

Referee Shane Andrews finally managed to restore order and after consulting with the fourth official and his assistant referee he produced a red card to McClean with Chris Shields and Cian Bolger both yellow carded for their part in the melee.

It wasn't finished just yet though as Oliver was also dismissed after the play had restarted.

Larne came close to breaking the deadlock four minutes before half-time as Millar crashed a header off the crossbar from Michael Glynn's corner.

David Healy shuffled his pack at the break bringing on Conor Pepper for Eetu Vertainen with Joel Cooper deployed in a lone striker role.

The Blues were definitely much improved after the restart but there was more drama to come as Healy was then dismissed after attempting to kick the ball back after Larne had been awarded a free kick in their own half.

The Linfield boss encroached on the pitch and made contact with the ball, which struck Paul O'Neill, and referee Andrews produced a third red card on the night.

Larne started to make the extra man count as the game moved into the last 20 minutes it was all one-way traffic as Walsh was called into action several times.

Millar planted a header straight at him and the keeper saved well from Glynn and Bolger before O'Neill planted a header over from six yards.

But as we headed into stoppage time Walsh was injured following a challenge with Maguire.

The goalkeeper lay prone on the pitch and the players were taken off whilst he received medical attention.

Both teams agreed to go straight to penalties with Chris Johns coming on to replace Walsh.

He scored from the penalty spot but it was Larne who secured the trophy in the end despite Millar missing from 12 yards.


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