It’s ‘proudest moment’ for Larne and Linfield ‘nailed it’ on dream Euro night
It was a night to remember on the European stage for Irish League football as Linfield and Larne each recorded spectacular home wins.
With significant rewards, financial and beyond, on hand to clubs reaching the next stage of the Europa Conference League, the Danske Bank Premiership’s remaining two representatives each secured first-leg advantage in stunning style.
The Blues blasted in four goals without reply at Windsor Park against Bosnia’s champions Banja Luka with a performance that left manager David Healy praising how his players “nailed it”.
Michael Newberry provided a perfect start before a superb Christy Manzinga finish ahead of efforts from Jamie Mulgrew and Jimmy Callacher.
Larne boss Tiernan Lynch described the 2-1 win over Denmark’s AGF Aarhus as “probably the proudest moment that I’ve had yet”.
Another early goal - with David McDaid on hand - sent the Inver Park fans into dreamland before Dean Jarvis doubled the advantage, with Aarhus grabbing a late lifeline.
Both clubs will travel next week for second legs.
“That’s probably the proudest moment that I’ve had yet,” said Lynch. “I just love the fact that no matter what you throw at this team that they just take the challenge and grab it with both hands.
“We’re coming out of the game a bit disappointed...firstly that we conceded a late goal and secondly that we didn’t win by more.”
Blues boss Healy pushed all praise on to his players for the “attitude and application” behind the victory.
“We discussed about what way we wanted to approach the game...with every last little detail we gave they delivered on the pitch,” he said. “The way the players went about it tonight made it work...4-0 didn’t flatter us.
“The players nailed it, the players were incredible.”
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