Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United crowned League Cup champions after beating Carrick Rangers

Ballymena United 2-0 Carrick Rangers

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United lifted the Northern Ireland League Cup for the first time in the club's history after conquering Carrick Rangers 2-0 in the final at Seaview.

United, who lost the 2015 League Cup decider to Cliftonville, were the greater attacking threat and the two goals were dripping in class and worthy of the occasion.

Midfielder Allan Jenkins slotted in the opener just before half-time after a brilliant set up from William Faulkner and substitute, former Carrick ace Conor McCloskey, smashed in number two in spectacular fashion on 92 minutes.

Veteran Scot Jenkins, whose contract expires at the end of the season, wiped away tears from his eyes as he celebrated his goal with supporters.

Johnny McMurray had a number of opportunities to make the score line more flattering but one goal was enough to make history.

Jeffrey is now the Irish League's most successful boss as his 32nd trophy - 31 celebrated at Windsor Park - puts him one clear of former Linfield and Glentoran supremo Roy Coyle while Carrick chief Aaron Callaghan is waiting for his first glory moment as a manager.

It was the first meeting between the sides in a major final since the Braidmen triumphed 4-1 in the 1984 Irish Cup decider.

Carrick's last silverware success was the 1993 County Antrim Shield triumph but although they finished strongly in this contest, with substitute Chris Morrow watching his low effort turned around the post by goalkeeper Ross Glendinning, this was the Sky Blues' night and McCloskey's late strike sealed the win in memorable fashion.

Jeffrey has now added a League Cup success with United to the six he netted as Linfield chief and the fans will hope there is more silverware to arrive in the years to come.

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