Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena 5-2 Dungannon Swifts: Sky Blues cruise to victory

Ballymena United will take on Glenavon in the Europa League play-off final at the Showgrounds on Friday night.

The Sky Blues cruised to a 5-2 victory over Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds on Monday night while the Lurgan Blues triumphed 5-3 against Cliftonville in a thrilling clash at Solitude.

Rhys Marshall headed Glenavon in front but Jude Winchester replied and Chris Curran made it 2-1 for the Reds. Greg Moorhouse levelled the scores but Jay Donnelly ensured the home side led at the break.

James Singleton struck early in the second half to make it 3-3 and the visitors seized control with James Gray and Andy McGrory sealing the victory.

A brace from Tony Kane and a Joe McKinney strike rocked the Swifts who had Andrew Burns sent off. Dungannon pulled a goal back through Kris Lowe but Johnny McMurray made it 4-1.

Jamie Glackin was on target for the Swifts but Kyle Owens struck the final blow.

“I could not believe we conceded two goals but of course I'm delighted with the goals we scored,” said United boss David Jeffrey. “I was delighted for Joe (McKinney) and it was a superb finish. I'm not sure what to expect in the final but Glenavon are the only side we haven't beaten this season.

“We were delighted to finish in the top six but we have progressed so much and we will give it our best on Friday night. Under Gary Hamilton, Glenavon are serial winners but we are grateful for this opportunity to secure a European place.”

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton said: “The second half was more enjoyable. They were better in the first half but our boys reacted to the half-time team talk and thankfully won the game. The Ballymena United game might serve up a few goals but both teams will go for it and attack. David (Jeffrey) has assembled a great squad and the implications for us all are massive.”

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