Braniff and Hall bring cup back to Lurgan

Glenavon upset the odds once again to defeat favourites Linfield 2-0 and win the Irish Cup for the second time in three years at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Goals from Kevin Braniff and Andy Hall sealed a superb season for Gary Hamilton’s side and this was a success they richly deserved.

Kevin Braniff fires Glenavon into the lead.

Kevin Braniff fires Glenavon into the lead.

Linfield enjoyed some early pressure with Glenavon’s Simon Kelly on hand to direct a dangerous Andy Waterworth cross away from goal on five minutes.

The Belfast Blues maintained the upper hand as they kept Glenavon pinned in their own area.

On ten minutes the Glenavon fans burst into a minutes applause for the late Mark Farren with Linfield fans also joining in.

In a rare attack Joel Cooper did well to rob Sean Ward in the box but the ball spun away from him before he could get in the cross.

Jonny Tuffey made a superb reaction save with his right boot to keep out a flick on by Stephen Lowry and a few minutes later Glenavon almost took the lead when Cooper turned and curled a lovely shot just wide of the far post.

Glenavon had recovered from that slow start and on 17 minutes Eoin Bradley forced the ball into the net but it was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.

Now it was Glenavon beginning to apply pressure and a neat move saw Braniff slip the ball to Cooper and his cross was nodded down by Bradley but Any Hall could only scoop his volley high over the bar.

Another Linfield threat arrived on 30 minutes from Ross Gaynor’s free kick which was directed across goal by Mark Haughey but Waterworth could not reach it.

With just seconds to go before the break Glenavon took the lead. It all came from a Linfield corner with the ball cleared out to Cooper who fed Patton. His long ball forward was not cleared by Ward and Bradley took over to deliver a superb pass for the unmarked Braniff who drove the ball high into the net.

The drama continued three minutes into the second half when Hall doubled Glenavon’s lead. Patton did well to play the ball in, Bradley tried to reach it but it deflected into the path of Hall who gave Deane no chance from 10 yards out.

Linfield tried to respond quickly with a free kick in a dangerous position but Tuffey tipped over a strong drive from Burns.

With 20 minutes to go Glenavon thought they had won a penalty when Cooper seemed to be blocked by Ward, but referee Heatherington booked Cooper for diving.

Braniff had a fantastic chance to add a third on 82 minutes when he broke clear but his shot flew wide of the post.

Gary Hamilton and Daniel Kearns came on to see out the last few minutes and at the final whistle the Lurgan Blues could celebrate another famous win.

Glenavon:Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Patton, Braniff, Martyn.

Subs: Lindsay, Sykes, McGrory, Hamilton, Kearns, Hamilton.