Let’s not mention the score.
After 35 matches trying to win the League, Linfield had done just that, and now came the presentation.
Glenavon had the greater need, chasing every point as they aim to overtake Ballymena United into 2nd place and automatic qualification for next season’s UEFA Cup.
With the title won, David Healy took the opportunity to give games to players who haven’t featured regularly all season, or in recent weeks, such as Mark Stafford, Kyle McClean, Stephen Fallon, Kirk Millar and Marek Cervenka.
In the early minutes, Linfield had a lot of pressure on Glenavon’s goal, with Stephen Fallon having a shot go wide while Ryan McGivern had a header go just wide.
However, it was Glenavon who took the lead with a long range shot from Robert Garrett, the second time he had scored a spectacular goal at Windsor Park as an opposition player, having done so for Portadown in September 2016.
Curiously, Garrett has played enough games for Linfield to get a title medal, though he wasn’t involved in the post-match festivities.
He left in January in search of games, a bitter irony is if he stayed he would have got them due to injuries presenting an opportunity, which was taken by Kyle McClean.
It wasn’t that surprising that he was allowed to leave, it was more surprising that it was permanent rather than on loan, as a loan would have stopped him playing against us, but freed him to play against Crusaders and Ballymena United.
Garrett didn’t play when Glenavon faced Linfield in March, and his goal in this game wouldn’t be costly for Linfield in terms of the title race.
However, Linfield didn’t want to lose on their big day, and set about finding an equaliser.
Kirk Millar had a shot go just wide while Marek Cervenka fired over from close range.
It felt like it was only a matter of time before Linfield equalised, so naturally, Glenavon made it 2-0 when Conor McCloskey fired home.
The scoreline was harsh on Linfield, but the truth was, Glenavon were more ruthless with their finishing.
Josh Daniels then hit the bar as Glenavon looked to go in at half-time 3-0 up.
Despite being 2-0 down, Linfield hadn’t played that bad.
However, they needed to step it up if they were to produce a Champion comeback.
It didn’t come. Glenavon went 3-0 up around the hour when Eoin Wearen waltzed through Linfield’s defence to fire home.
Michael O’Connor had only just come on for Marek Cervenka, a welcome return to action for him, David Healy responded by bringing on Jamie Mulgrew and Jordan Stewart for Kyle McCelan and Joel Cooper.
The game was already over, the substitutions didn’t inspire a comeback. Glenavon made it 4-0 when Rhys Marshall smashed home from close range.
A day to forget for Linfield. Having made positive records all season, this was a negative record breaker, as this was Linfield’s biggest League defeat since 2009, and worst home League defeat since 1995
It was now time for the presentation.
For a change, and a good change, it was close to the touchline at the South Stand end of the ground, which was an improvement on previous presentations which have taken place on the halfway line with the photos showing the players in front of an empty North Stand.
Everybody got a chance to see the trophy, and fans got to get their photos and selfies, etc, if you’re that way inclined.
This week, saw the finalisation of an Irish Champions League style competition, with Linfield taking on the 2019 League Of Ireland Champions, most likely Shamrock Rovers or Bohemians in November.
I was hoping it would be Waterford, so I could revisit the city like I did in November 2018.
It’s looking like Waterford won’t be given a licence to play in next season’s UEFA Cup, and their place will be taken by St Patrick’s Athletic, which is handy as i’ll be in Dublin on Thursday 11th July, so would hope to take in their tie if they are at home.
Linfield, of course, will be in the European Cup. If you’re into forward planning, the Final will be in the Ataturk Stadium on Saturday 30th May 2020.
Elsewhere, Cliftonville beat Crusaders 2-0. You may be interested to know that Crusaders have lost as many games this season as Linfield did last season,
You have heard it here first, that Crusaders chopping and changing their team for the final five matches of the season will spectacularly bite them on the arse on 4th May.
Ballymena beat Coleraine, meaning the race for 2nd is between them and Glenavon.
Up next for Linfield, is a home match against Cliftonville.
Let’s make it through a season without losing at home to Cliftonville, for the first time since 2011-2012, and not have a great season end in a sloppy manner.
Overall, today was a good day, from 5pm onwards. 3pm to 5pm was a bit forgettable.
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