Linfield crowned champions in dramatic final day decider

Linfield are celebrating the club’s 56th league title after a dramatic and nervous finish to an enthralling Danske Bank Premiership season.

n the final day of a 38-game campaign, both the Blues and Cliftonville retained hopes of lifting the Gibson Cup but it was the champions who made it four league triumphs on the bounce.

Linfield, a point ahead of the north Belfast side, knew a win at home to Coleraine would see them home and two quick fire goals just before half-time allayed fears at Windsor Park.

Ben Hall, the January signing from Falkirk and boyhood Blues fan Chris McKee scored late in the first half to calm nerves at Windsor after Chris Gallagher had fired Cliftonville ahead at Glentoran.

The Reds needed to beat the Glens and Linfield to drop points but the Bannsiders were unable to spark a late, dramatic twist as the leaders won 2-0.

League Cup winners Cliftonville finish second after their 2-1 win over Glentoran who hold onto third spot.

Ryan Curran doubled the Reds’ lead on 67 minutes and Seanan Clucas’ header 10 minutes before the finish mattered little.

Paddy McLaughlin’s men have been a formidable force this season but they ran out of time in pursuit of the club’s first championship since 2014.

Linfield finish the campaign unbeaten at home and, remarkably, never trailed at Windsor Park.

Healy’s side have only conceded eight goals in 18 home games and their defensive solidity has been decisive.

It was a nervous final day finish for the Blues but they passed the test and the celebrations can begin.

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