Linfield ended the season in style on Saturday by defeating Coleraine 3-0 in the Irish Cup final at Windsor Park, courtesy of Andy Waterworth’s hat-trick.

David Healy’s men secured the league title a week earlier when Waterworth was the star of the show again, netting another hat-trick to give Linfield a 3-1 win over Cliftonville at Solitude, ending a five-year wait to bring the Gibson Cup back to South Belfast.

The Blues secured a domestic treble, something that was virtually unthinkable at Christmas time. On March 11, Linfield trailed then league leaders Crusaders by ten points, but Killyleagh-native Healy steered the Windsor Park side to an incredible 19 wins and a draw from their last 20 matches.

It was a master class from the Linfield manager and his success was rewarded by the club following the Irish Cup triumph, with the 37-year-old penning a contract extension until June 2020.

Linfield moved to appointed Healy in October 2015 when former manager Warren Feeney departed to take up a coaching role at Newport County in the fourth division of English football.

The following month, the Blues lost all four of their league matches - a tough time for the manager with many suggesting he only got the job because of his playing career. Now those people have been truly silenced.

Anyone who knows David can see why he’s been successful this season. He has an inner-fire, a hunger to succeed. He wants to be the best he can possibly be and he is always challenging his team for more. Healy has played under some top managers, the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Walter Smith, picking up traits along the way. Crucially, though, he knows what Linfield is about after supporting them as a boy.

While November provided was testing times for Healy, he displayed his belief in youth as he made the inspired decision to put an 18-year-old livewire into the first team in the form of Paul Smyth. Now, a year and a half later, Smyth is one of the most talented footballers in the country.

The former Fulham striker’s involvement with Linfield’s youth teams goes unnoticed by many, but it should encourage the supporters. It’s no coincidence that Linfield Swifts are in fine fettle. Manager Alan Dornan heaped praise on Healy and assistant Ross Oliver, saying, “David and Ross take a huge interest in the younger players. As well as being fantastic coaches, they have genuine interest in players development and from the senior team down to the young players the boys aren't judged, they are viewed as footballers and their welfare is everything.”

"Ross (Oliver) operates a little in David's shadow in terms of publicity but it's a great partnership and he is also an absolute star and the bigger picture is the club is in great health and moving in the right direction.”

The Swifts have had a tremendous season. With an average age of just 17-and-a-half, Dornan’s Linfield Swifts ended a 19 year wait by landing the prestigious Steel and Sons Cup on Christmas Eve. The young Blues also won the NIFL Reserve League and could also complete a treble if they overcome Limavady United inthe Intermediate Cup final at Windsor Park.

When you look down Linfield’s youth teams across various age groups this season, there are ‘doubles’ galore. The likes of Alan Dornan, Bryan McCarroll and Glenn Ferguson deserve so much credit for their work with the upcoming players in Linfield’s academy and with Healy’s oversight on all age groups at the club, don’t be surprised if you see more ‘Paul Smyth’s’ coming through. The signs are encouraging for the Linfield faithful.

Healy’s reign at Windsor is going extremely well with a treble, four out of five domestic cup finals reached in his tenure to date and a real buzz back around Windsor Park, but don’t be surprised if it’s just the start of things to come under Linfield’s exciting young manager who has already started planning the defense of his title by securing the signings of Jordan Stewart, Robert Garrett and Andrew Mitchell.