Crusaders beat Ballinamallard United to lift Tennents Irish Cup for first time since 2009

Ballinamallard United 0 Crusaders 3

By Nicky Fullerton
Saturday, 4th May 2019, 5:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th May 2019, 5:43 pm
Crusaders celebrate after going 1-0 up
Crusaders celebrate after going 1-0 up

Crusaders are the Tennents Irish Cup winners after beating Ballinamallard United 3-0 at the National Stadium Windsor Park on Saturday.

Goals from Jordan Owens, Phillip Lowry and Ross Clarke sealed the win for Stephen Baxter's side while Mallards boss Harry McConkey can be proud of his side's showing.

The opening exchanges would be interesting as the Crues would try and impose themselves on Ballinamallard and the Mallards would find out what kind of afternoon they are in for.

Jordan Owens celebrates

United manager McConkey will be hoping his side settle quickly on the biggest occasion in the club's history.

Thast was not the case as it was 1-0 in the sixth minute. A cross from Billy Joe Burns finds Jordan Owens and his looping header beats Mallards keeper John Connolly.

It was not the start McConkey's men would have wanted and the Crues were up and running.

The Mallards to their credit dug-in and Ryan Campbell dragged his shot wide of the Crusaders goal from the edge of the box in the eighth minute.

Action from Windsor Park

The Crues then had a chance from a cross but Jordan Forsythe headed off target - but the Shore Road club were dominating the opening exchanges.

Forsythe then whipped a free-kick just wide of the United goal as the Premiership put on the pressure at a sun soaked Windsor.

Goal mouth scramble in the United box but the Mallards defence finally cleared the danger in the 30th minute as Phillip Lowry and David Cushley looked to apply the finish.

Burns got another ball in the 35th minute but Declan Caddell miscued his shot and the chance was lost.

The Mallards rallied and had a chance in the 38th minute as Darragh O'Brien tried his luck from the edge of the box.

If the Mallards were to get anything from this game they will want to keep it tight for the opening 15 minutes of this half because if the Crues get a second goal the game will be as good as over.

But it was 2-0 in the 4th minute as Phillip Lowry headed home after the ball was knocked up in the air from a corner and United now have a mountain to climb.

It could have been 3-0 minutes later but keeper Connolly made a great save to deny Paul Heatley.

It was 3-0 in the 53rd minute as substitute Ross Clarke hammers home with his first touch after coming on for Cushley a minute before and the game was as good as over.

Substitute Duwanye McManus tried his luck from a free-kick but his effort flew wide of the Crues goal in the 65th minute.

Michael Ruddy then went close for Crusaders from a throw-in as his shot flew wide but the Mallards seemed to have weathered the storm.

In fact the Mallards had a chance as Nathan Cashel's shot beat keeper Harry Doherty but not the post.

The game ended 3-0 and Crusaders were Irish Cup winners for the first time since 2009.