Talented McBrien collects first trophy with Linfield

Darragh McBrien received his first taste of silverware with Linfield when they lifted the BetMcLean Cup on Saturday after a 3-1 win over Portadown.

The Belnaleck man came off the bench for the closing stages in the final as the Blues extended their record of league cup triumphs to 12 – five ahead of their Big Two rivals Glentoran.

At the same time, it marked the 22-year-old’s first senior football title, having played for Harry McConkey’s Ballinamallard side in the Irish Cup Final against Crusaders in 2019 when he was just 17.


“That’s why I went to Linfield – big club, they’re always on the hunt for trophies like that,” said McBrien. “So yeah, it’s nice to get the first one over the line. There’s still two more up for grabs this year, two more important trophies.”

With a potential treble still on the cards for David Healy’s side, as they bid to chase down champions Larne in the Irish Premiership and have an Irish Cup semi-final against Glentoran to look forward to, it’s something that McBrien feels is within their reach;

“It’s defnitely achievable – it’s in our hands if we win all our games we could win the league. The boys are in good spirits and we’re confident but it’s going to be a tough run in. Larne are a good team and you have Cliftonville as well but we’re definitely still in the hunt for it.”

McBrien signed for the perennial league and cup contenders from Dungannon Swifts in August, having endured 18 months out through injury.

He’s managed 24 appearances in the league and 30 in all competitions and has chipped in with four goals in his time with The Blues.

McBrien is mindful that “it was always going to take me a bit of time to get up to speed” following his prolonged break;

“I didn’t get one (pre-season) when I came in last year. So hopefully after this season is over I’ll get a good one in and kick on again next year.”


McBrien had surgery in December 2022 for on an ongoing issue which caused swelling around his hips and pelvis but he says the injury is now “manageable”, adding;

“I’m an awful lot better than I was this time last year. It’s just about keeping it strong. I’ve still an awful lot of work to do to maintain it but I can’t complain, I’ve been staying on the pitch, so I haven’t been too bad.”

It was a memorable few days for the McBrien family with Darragh’s two sisters Rachael and Áine also collecting silverware. The McBrien ladies were part of Belnaleck’s Division 3 winning side that collected a first senior title for the club on Sunday afternoon.

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