Ballymena United 1 - 3 Dungannon Swifts

League Cup - Final
Saturday, February 17th, 2018, 5:30 PM at Windsor Park
Attendance: 2,995
Referee: Tim Marshall
Ballymena United  Dungannon Swifts

Goalscorers
Kyle Owens (17)
Ryan Mayse (11)
Ryan Mayse (37)
Cormac Burke (55)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Rodney McAree

Starting Eleven
Ross Glendinning
Andrew Burns
Jim Ervin
Kofi Balmer
Kyle Owens
Tony Kane
Conor McCloskey
Leroy Millar
William Faulkner
Cathair Friel
Jonathan McMurray
Stuart Addis
Chris Hegarty
David Armstrong
Ryan Mayse
Paul McElroy
Ryan Harpur
Jarlath O'Rourke
Kris Lowe
Seanan Clucas
Cormac Burke
Grant Hutchinson

Substitutes
Conor Quigley
Jonathan Flynn
Patrick Weir
Francis McCaffrey
Matthew Shevlin
Andrew Coleman
Douglas Wilson
Terry Fitzpatrick
Alan Teggart
Rhyss Campbell

Substitutions
Patrick Weir for Andrew Burns (65)
Matthew Shevlin for William Faulkner (65)
Francis McCaffrey for Kofi Balmer (83)
Douglas Wilson for Seanan Clucas (46)
Alan Teggart for Ryan Mayse (75)
Terry Fitzpatrick for Cormac Burke (82)

Bookings
Kofi Balmer (35)
Andrew Burns (53)
Conor McCloskey (90)
Leroy Millar (90)
David Armstrong (35)
Terry Fitzpatrick (90)

Red Cards
None. Ryan Harpur (81)
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ross Glendinning (GK) 58 apps -
Kyle Owens 75 apps12 goals
Kofi Balmer 20 apps1 goal
Tony Kane 265 apps39 goals
Andrew Burns 15 apps1 goal
Jim Ervin 162 apps2 goals
Conor McCloskey 67 apps10 goals
William Faulkner 96 apps11 goals
Leroy Millar 77 apps7 goals
Jonathan McMurray 62 apps24 goals
Cathair Friel 80 apps38 goals
Patrick Weir (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Francis McCaffrey (sub) 42 apps6 goals
Matthew Shevlin (sub) 56 apps12 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Kofi Balmer (17 years 155 days)
Oldest Player:Jim Ervin (32 years 265 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 219 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Kofi Balmer (17 years 155 days)
Oldest Player:Jim Ervin (32 years 265 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 292 days
Domestic Players:15 (93.75 % of matchday squad)

DUNGANNON Swifts are the BetMcLean League Cup champions for 2018 after beating a disappointing Ballymena United 3-1 in the final at the National Stadium.

There was a nervy moment inside the first minute for Dungannon when Johnny McMurray almost got on the end of a slack David Armstrong back pass, but he did just enough to find Stuart Addis. The first real attempt on goal came on 11 minutes and resulted in Dungannon breaking the deadlock. Paul McElroy managed to keep the ball in play on the left wing and crossed for Ryan Harpur at the back post. The Swifts captain was completely unmarked and headed the ball down for Ryan Mayse, who smashed the ball home off the underside of the bar.

The Sky Blues looked to hit back quickly with Willie Faulkner have a dangerous shot blocked before Conor McCloskey cut inside and forced Addis into a great save. From the resulting corner, Ballymena found an equaliser. The corner from Leroy Millar was met by Kyle Owens in the 6 yard box who got a vital touch to head home his 5th goal of the season in all competitions.

After early Dungannon dominance United were starting to see more of the ball and a cross from McCloskey was turned over the bar by McMurray after a first time shot. On 26 minutes it was Ross Glendinning's turn to pull off a fantastic save. Cormac Burke had time to cut inside on the left and his dipping effort looked to be going in before Glendinning brilliantly tipped it over the bar.

At the other end The Swifts failed to fully clear a corner and ex-Dungannon man Andrew Burns was able to get a low shot away, but it was easily gathered by Addis. Dungannon began to look the superior side again in the final ten minutes of the half, with Harpur heading a corner over after being slightly unbalanced, before Mayse grabbed his second to put the Co. Tyrone side ahead once more. A cross from Kris Lowe found Mayse who saw his first shot well saved by Glendinning, but Mayse was quickest to the rebound and poked the ball home from close range to give Dungannon the half time lead.

United were slow out of the blocks at the start of the second half and after a very quiet 10 minutes Dungannon scored again to make it 3-1. A cross from Mayse made its way to Burke on the edge of the box and after a couple of touches he curled the ball nicely into the bottom corner as Glendinning simply watched on.

Ballymena were restricted to half chances at best, mostly down to their own poor play, as they looked for a way back into the game. Millar did well to work a cross from the right and found Kane, but with the ball behind him he volleyed well wide. With 25 minutes left McElroy really should've made it 4-1. Burke crossed for the striker at the back post who somehow had acres of space and all the time in the world but he managed to head wide.

David Jeffrey turned to Matthew Shevlin on the bench, as well as Patrick Weir who made his Sky Blue debut. McCloskey was almost the man to bring Ballymena back into it after a curling effort from the edge of the box was fantastically saved by Addis, tipping the ball round the post. That McCloskey chance came on 69 minutes and was the last time Ballymena found any quality to worry The Swifts.

There was little happening for either side until the 81st minute when Dungannon were reduced to 10 men. In an off the ball incident captain Harpur caught Kofi Balmer, with the linesman spotting it, advising Tim Marshall to give Harpur his marching orders. On 83 minutes Balmer couldn't carry on due to an injury and was replaced by Fra McCaffrey.

With Ballymena flat and time running out they couldn't take advantage of the extra man. In added time Millar turned an Owens knock down well over the bar before McCloskey struck wide before the final whistle sounded. Dungannon cruised home to deservedly lift their first senior trophy and capitalise on a performance from defending champions Ballymena that was simply not good enough to challenge in a major final.

Match report written by Phillip McPeake

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