Ballymena book semi-final spot as Dungannon crash out

Ballymena's Allan Jenkins battles with Dungannon's Gareth Buchanan
Ballymena's Allan Jenkins battles with Dungannon's Gareth Buchanan

Ballymena United 4, Dungannon Swifts 1

A strong first half performance helped Ballymena United into the semi-finals of the Irish Cup at Dungannon’s expense.

Ballymena went in front after just 90 seconds when Davy Munster headed home from Tony Kane’s free kick via the inside of the post.

The Sky Blues extended their advantage on 22 minutes when their other central defender Johnny Taylor headed home at the near post from Kane’s inswinging corner.

Ballymena added a third goal on the half hour, again from a header, as Darren Boyce nodded home Jim Ervin’s cross.

Both sides hit the woodwork at the end of the first half, David McCullough nodding against the bar for Swifts, while David Cushley’s low shot was deflected onto the base of the post.

Dungannon pulled a goal back eight minutes after the break when Gary Liggett headed home from close-range after his initial effort had been cleared off the line by Johnny Taylor.

Despite a tremendous fightback from Dungannon, Boyce’s second goal of the day put the outcome beyond doubt for United in the closing minutes.

Ballymena United: Shanahan, Ervin, Munster, Taylor, McBride, Kane, Davidson, Jenkins, Teggart, Boyce, Cushley. Subs (not used): Stewart, Taggart, McCullagh, Kelly, McLellan.

Dungannon Swifts: Buchanan, McCullough, Brennan, McMinn, McCaffrey, Hazley, Tomelty, Hutchinson, Harpur, Topley, Liggett. Subs (not used): S Lavery, C Lavery, Glackin, Turker, Brolly.

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus).