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A BLUE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT YOU; Swifts boss Dorrian disappointed to lose their grip on trophy as his young team fail to get the better of experienced Newington.

Byline: MAXIE SWAIN

A DEJECTED Davy Dorrian admitted the real Linfield Swifts didn't turn up as his young guns surrendered their Steel Cup crown to Newington at Seaview.

Coming into the Christmas Day showpiece on the back of a long winning streak which saw them score six in each of their previous three games, the Wee Blues were much-fancied to defend the trophy they won this time last year against a Newington team in terrible form.

However, the predicted fireworks from his usually vibrant and exciting young side never materialised yesterday, with Conor Crossan's first-time winners looking more menacing swathes of the game, and particularly in the first half.

-or me g the for large Restricted to just a few half chances in a dreary encounter, it was Padraig Scollay who would emerge the hero after he lashed home from just inside the area with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.

And for a crestfallen Dorrian, who was brought in to replace Alan Dornan over the summer, said his players' failure to cope with the occasion and show the bumper crowd what they're made of was the biggest disappointment of the day.

"We didn't play at all today," lamented Dorrian (circled). "We had a couple of things conspire against us today, we had a couple of fitness tests and a couple of them were struggling today.

"Young Ryan Strain is usually a big player for me but you could see he wasn't well. We took a chance on him but it just never happened, and a couple of people who played in the semi-final, Stevie Fallon and Ross Clarke, are needed for the first team which is more important and unfortunately, b re m we' than t honest w that's the thing about eing a reserve team manager. But we're better that, let's be honest, we're miles better than that, we didn't pass the ball as well as we normally do, and to be honest I think we looked really, really nervous.

"They were very quiet in the changing room but they will learn from this. Newington had players in their 30s playing there and I had three 16-yearolds playing so it's a big, big learning curve for them in front of a big crowd and with the physical side of Newington.

"And fair play to Newington, I thought they were the better team but we will learn from this. Like I say, we are a far, far better team than what we showed today. Anyone who has watched us playing will know we were 50% there of what we would normally be.

"So I'm bitterly disappointed but some of those players will go on and play for Linfield first team and that's what it is all about.

"Those guys at Newington, a lot of them have been there and are maybe going the other way and fair play to them, they deserved to win it today and the lad who won man of the match, [Padraig] Scollay was the best player on the pitch."

Meanwhile for matchwinner Scollay, the victory and his role in it will never be bettered.

"That's the biggest thing in my career," said the Ton winger.

"I'm 33 years old and I may never play in another final like this so I just have to savour the moment and it's a fantastic achievement for the club - I can't stop smiling.

"I didn't really have any nerves, maybe because it was Christmas Day. I was playing Santa earlier and I was just trying to stay focused but to win it is a big deal.

"We got brilliant backing today, a lot of people took time out of their own Christmas Day to come down, and you have to thank them.

"It's the same for my family, they made sacrifices to come down and watch us so I'm just buzzing and I have to savour it and enjoy it.

"It's a massive lift for the club, it's positive publicity and hopefully today we as a club proved a lot of doubters wrong." NEWINGTON: Smyth, McFall, B O'Neill, O Moore, Gowdy, O'Donnell, Burns, Gilgunn, Doyle, Niblock, Scollay. Subs: Begley, Hanvey, Rafferty, K O'Neill. LINFIELD SWIFTS: Moore, McComb, Neale, McGuinness, O'Hare, Lynch, Carroll, Harrison, Strain, Scannell, Truesdale. Subs: Murray, Browne, Gemmell, Pengelly, Weatherup. REFEREE: Iain Banks.

CAPTION(S):

monday blues The devastated Linfield Swifts squad after their loss at Seaview yesterday

for keeps Newington skipper Dean Smyth holds the Steel and Sons Cup aloft at Seaview

daddy's boy Ton's Gary Rafferty with his newborn son Padraig - and the lid of the cup

what a scoll Padraig Scollay celebrates his decisive strike, below right, in yesterday's final

man of match Padraig Scollay gets award from Scott Brannigan, MD of Amber Support Solutons

bossing it Proud Ton manager Conor Crossan after the club's first Steel & Sons triumph
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 26, 2017
Words:808
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