Not a major trophy, but still annoying. Even when you lose eight County Antrim Shield Finals in the last fifteen years, you’d think you’d be used to it.

No rotation for this game, with a mostly full strength team for Linfield, although David Walsh came in goal for this game, as he had done throughout this season’s competition.

The opening was mostly even, although Larne were having the slightly better chances. Neither side had anything clear.

Larne had the best moment when Leroy Millar diverted a shot with his head, just wide of the goal.

Just before half-time, the game swung in Larne’s favour when Kyle McClean was sent-off for a foul.

It was a bad tackle but it wasn’t reckless. Only a yellow.

Taking place in front of the Larne support, and followed by a melee, McClean never stood a chance.

Linfield now had to hold on until half-time and regroup.

Unsurprisingly, Larne were looking to immediately make the most of their advantage.

Linfield held firm from a flurry of corners. The only moment of worry was a header from Leroy Millar which hit the top of the crossbar.

Having made it to half-time at 0-0, Conor Pepper came on for Eetu Vertainen as Linfield looked to get an extra body in midfield.

Holding out for penalties? Not a bit of it.

Linfield came out and were the most likely team to score in the early minutes of the second-half. They needed to make the most of it though.

Despite all the possession and time spent in Larne’s final third, Linfield weren’t able to create a clear opportunity.

Having survived a period of Linfield pressure, Larne tried to press home their one man advantage.

Just like when Linfield were having a spell on top, Larne couldn’t really create a clear goalscoring opportunity.

With ten minutes to go, David Walsh was forced into a save when he had to turn a deflected effort from Micheal Glynn around the post.

At this point, just as in the previous year’s Final, it was looking like goal the winner as the seconds ticked down.

Paul O’Neill should have got that goal, but he headed over from close range when he should have been hitting the target.

Larne were finishing the game strongly. A flick on followed by a spot of pinball from a corner caused worry for Linfield fans, but not for David Walsh, who made the save with no worries whatsoever.

As the game neared it’s conclusion, Chris McKee came on for Joel Cooper, perhaps with an eye on a possible penalty shoot-out.

Despite the efforts of both sides, this was a match that was heading this way.

Going to be playing an hour with ten men, it was a surprise that Cameron Palmer wasn’t brought on, to freshen things up.

There would be a final substitution for Linfield, not one they were planning to make as David Walsh suffered an injury when making a tackle as Larne broke through at the start of four minutes of injury time.

As Linfield counter attacked the counter attack thanks to Walsh’s tackle, it soon became apparent that Walsh’s injury was serious.

Chris Johns was soon getting warmed up as Walsh continued to receive treatment, as Seaview fell silent, concerned for Walsh.

Suddenly, there was an announcement on the tannoy. A lot of people were speculating that it might have been for an abandonment, but it was to announce that the teams will be taken off the pitch for ten minutes.

By the time those ten minutes passed, Walsh was removed from the pitch.

Thankfully, it would later emerge that he would be released from hospital during the night, and was even able to participate in light training later that week.

It was unsurprising, with the long delay, short time remaining in the game and the conditions, a decision was made to prematurely blow the full-time whistle, the match finishing 0-0 and going straight to a penalty shoot-out.

A draw was a fair result. Even though Larne had the slightly better opportunities, neither side could really claim that they deserved to be outright winners.

The biggest compliment that you could pay Linfield, was that you didn’t really notice that they were playing with ten men.

So to penalties, which would be taken in front of Linfield’s fans.

I was at the other end of the pitch, where Linfield attacked in the second-half. I was too comfy to move, so i’d be watching the shoot-out from (relatively) afar.

A good start for Linfield when they were 2-1 up after two kicks, and taking first meant that they had the opportunity to go 3-1 up and really put the pressure on Larne.

It was too good to be true as Andrew Clarke had his penalty saved, and then Larne made it 2-2. All level now after three.

Mike Newberry then smashed his penalty against the bar. It was now advantage to Larne. They took it. Jeff Hughes put them 3-1 up after four kicks.

Linfield’s choice for next take took a lot of people by surprise, as Chris Johns got ready to step up.

He made no mistake, smashing it into the back of the net to keep Linfield in the match. Might be worth having him as back-up in case Chris Shields is unavailable.

It was only a temporary reprieve, as Mark Randall stepped up to win the game for Larne.

One trophy gone, albeit not the main aim for the season.

How crap must Cliftonville be at penalties if they have lost penalty shoot-outs to Linfield in successive seasons?

Onto Ballymena on Saturday.

Photo Album


November began with a trip to Shamrock Park to see Linfield eventually beat Portadown by a score of 3-0.

By this point, I was using up Annual Leave, so I went on a day trip to Dublin and got some Street Art photos.

That was then followed by two trips to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Cliftonville and Glenavon.

Another Linfield match, this time on the road, to Ballymena.

The next day, I made the most of a football free Saturday morning to head to Lisnabreeny Hill to get some Sunrise photos.

Then that night, I made my first visit to the newly rebuilt Mandela Hall to see John Power in concert.

November ended with two Linfield matches, both at home, against Larne and Crusaders.

Portadown v Linfield

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Glenavon

Ballymena United v Linfield

Lisnabreeny Hill

Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album

John Power live at Mandela Hall

John Power live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Crusaders


October was a busy month, right from the very start, heading to Dungannon on the first day of the month to see Linfield get a win at Stangmore Park.

That was followed a few days later by another away day, to a very wet Wilgar Park to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win over Dundela.

The following night, it was the Ulster Hall to see Beabadoobee in concert.

Back on the road the following Saturday to see Linfield draw with Coleraine.

Then it was back to Ulster Hall to see Paul Weller.

Two days after that, it was Linfield v Glentoran, the less said of that the better.

The following day was a lot more enjoyable, making the most of a football free Saturday to check out Murlough Bay.

Over the next seven days came two Linfield home matches, against Glenavon and Larne.

The following week, I was off to Manchester, my first visit to see Erik Ten Hag’s United in the flesh, against Sheriff Tiraspol.

While I was there, I got some photos from a stroll along a canal, some Street Art (of course) and a walk up Hartshead Pike.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield get some much needed three points.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Dundela v Linfield

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield v Larne

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester Canal Walk

Manchester Canal Walk Photo Album

Manchester United v Sheriff Tiraspol

Manchester Untied v Sheriff Tiraspol Photo Album

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike Photo Album

Newry City v Linfield


April began with a football free Saturday, so I headed to Scrabo Country Park, got lucky with the weather and got lots of nice photos.

The rest of the month was all about football, the next two weekends saw me attend Linfield’s matches against Cliftonville and Glentoran.

With two Public Holidays for Easter, I decided to go for walks up Cregagh Glen and then up Cavehill.

That was then followed by Linfield’s matches against Crusaders, Larne and Coleraine.

Just hours after seeing Linfield winning the League against Coleraine, I headed to Custom House Square to see Echo and the Bunnymen, my first concert of 2022.

Scrabo Country Park

Scrabo Country Park Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album


Cavehill Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Coleraine Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom Hosue Square

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square Photo Album


February was all about football, taking in four Linfield matches, two of which were against Larne.

The other two were against Glentoran and Portadown.

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Larne

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

LINFIELD 1-0 LARNE 22.11.2022

Well well well, things have just got a little bit interesting.

A shocking run of results in October, preceded by already meant that this was a must-win game. They all are when you have no margin for error.

Defeat was unthinkable, even a draw would be letting Larne away with it. When you have an opportunity to cut the gap, you simply have to take it.

As well as the need to win in terms of the League table, Linfield were under pressure to win because I was missing Sigrid’s concert at The Limelight to see this match. It had better be worth it.

Linfield’s starting eleven saw Kyle McClean come in for Cameron Palmer, who went off injured at Ballymena. A big blow, as he had been outstanding since he broke into the side in mid October.

Although, Linfield would be thankful for McClean’s presence on the pitch in the opening minutes of this game.

Linfield actually spent the opening couple of minutes on Larne’s half. Not a sustained spell of pressure, but having the ball but ultimately, not doing anything to hurt Larne with it.

Larne responded with a cross that flashed across the box, before McClean made a contribution that made Linfield glad he was on the pitch, blocking a goalbound shot in the early minutes.

0-0 after 6 minutes, Linfield had made a better start to this game than in their last meeting against Larne.

You may laugh, but that game was over before it even begun, Linfield gave themselves too much to do even though at one point early in the second-half it looked like it might actually happen.

That looked like Linfield’s gameplan, stay in the game, a team scarred by that game and spooked by Larne scoring four in the first-half against Crusaders a few weeks later.

As much as it was effective in stifling themselves as an attacking force, they also stifled themselves as an attacking force, showing no real attacking intensity, to the frustration of the home crowd.

The first-half was mostly even, although Larne carried the greater attacking threat.

Larne had a few defensive minded players booked in the first-half. If Linfield could go at them in the second-half, there were a few players who would be having second thoughts at jumping into tackles.

Having lost Cameron Palmer through injury at Ballymena, his replacement, Kyle McClean was also forced off through injury, with Stephen Fallon coming in for him.

A welcome return for Fallon, maybe not in the way he was hoping to return to action.

Having scored in Linfield’s last home League match, it looked like it was going to be two in a row for Daniel Finlayson as he got on the end of a free-kick, only to see his header hit the bar, with Sam Roscoe unable to adjust his body to head the rebound in.

Despite not scoring, the crowd were now fired up. They sensed that this game was there for the winning by Linfield.

They were almost behind within a few minutes as Ben Doherty had a shot turned around by Chris Johns.

That header would be Finlayson’s last major involvement in the game, going off injured and replaced by Mike Newberry for his first League appearance since he was sent-off against Glentoran.

I was wondering why Conor Pepper wasn’t brought on instead. What do I know?

Ethan Devine was also brought on.

Matthew Clarke was next to be frustrated when he was unable to get his head on the end of a cross.

Linfield were now on top but needed to take advantage of it.

This was one of those games where it looked there was only going to be one goal in it.

With just over ten minutes to go, it was Linfield who got that goal when Mike Newberry headed home from a free-kick. That was one way to redeem yourself.

And there was me saying that Conor Pepper should have been brought on instead.

When Linfield were getting ready to take the free-kick, Eetu Vertainen was getting ready to be introduced as a substitute.

Those plans didn’t change with the goal, as he replaced Robbie McDaid, but it would be interesting to see if the player being replaced changed when Linfield went 1-0 up.

For those ten and a bit minutes that remained, Linfield were relatively comfortable with their one goal lead.

Well, apart from in injury time when Chris Shields was forced to stretch to get to a flick on in his own six yard box to deny a certain goal.

But apart from that, they were doing ok, but the final whistle or a second goal couldn’t come quick enough.

It was the final whistle that came, as Chris Johns caught a cross.

There’s still a long way to go but Linfield now have a chance, which is a better situation than they were in the last time Larne visited Windsor Park.

Such is the situation they are in, there is no margin for error. They simply have to keep winning.

Especially this game. They certainly couldn’t afford to lose, but when the opportunity to close the gap comes, you have to take it.

Larne looked like they would be happy with a draw and a win would be a bonus.

Having already let Glentoran, Larne and Cliftonville leave Windsor Park with seven points this season, they need to start making it a fortress.

On that note, Crusaders are next at Windsor Park, level on points but just ahead of Linfield by one goal.

Although, Linfield could have pushed themselves to get an 11-0 win that would have taken them 3rd above Glentoran.

Small steps, let’s hope for some more against Crusaders.

Photo Album


This is it, the title run-in.

I was there, getting photos of Linfield’s last five games of the season, against Cliftonville, Glentoran, Crusaders, Larne and Coleraine.

It had a happy ending, as Linfield won the League. I managed to get some photos of the celebrations.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Coleraine Photo Album


February’s football watching began at Inver Park to see Linfield crash out of the Irish Cup. The less said about that, the better.

Four days later, and it was to Windsor Park, to see Linfield have a much better result against Larne.

Although that was followed up three days later with a defeat at The Oval.

My last football match of the month was to see Linfield scrape a win at home to Portadown.

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Larne

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown


January 2022 began with a trip to a very wet Stangmore Park to see Linfield put six past Dungannon Swifts.

I then treated myself the following week with a trip to a match as a neutral, and to a ground I had never visited before.

Blanchflower Park was the destination, my first opportunity to check it out since it opened, to see Harland and Wolff Welders take on Annagh United in the Irish Cup.

Three days after that, it was off to Seaview for the County Antrim Shield Final between Linfield and Larne.

It was back to Windsor Park on the next two Saturdays for Linfield’s home matches against Ballymena United and Glenavon.

The month finished with two away trips for Linfield, to Cliftonville and Coleraine.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United Photo Album

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Glenavon

Cliftonville v Linfield

Coleraine v Linfield


It was hoped that December’s football watching would begin at Lansdowne Road, but I had to make do with Coleraine Showgrounds. It doesn’t really matter where you watch your football as long as you’re watching Linfield win.

Although, Linfield did undo that with a draw at home to Warrenpoint Town the following Saturday.

And then, they made up for it by beating Larne away for the first time since 2008, and then beat Ballymena United to go top for the first time all season.

Before undoing that by drawing at home to Glentoran on Boxing Day.

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Glentoran