Belfast Telegraph

Dungannon come from behind to reach first League Cup decider and end Crusaders' clean sweep hopes

Dungannon's Ryan Harpur in action with Crusaders Mathew Snoddy
Photo: Inpho/Stephen Hamilton
Dungannon's Ryan Harpur in action with Crusaders Mathew Snoddy Photo: Inpho/Stephen Hamilton
Crusaders' Jordan Forsythe and Dungannon's Cormac Burke during this evening's game at Stangmore Park. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Ryan Harpur has sent Dungannon Swifts into the Bet McLean League Cup final for the first time and ended Crusaders' hopes of a clean sweep.

Dungannon have never reached the final of the competition before and have not won a major trophy, bar the Mid-Ulster Cup, since the Ulster Cup in the 02/03 season. The last major final they reached, again bar the MUC, was the 2007 Irish Cup final, which they lost to Linfield on penalties.

The Crues, already County Antrim Shield champions, were aiming to add the League Cup, Irish Cup, Danske Bank Premiership and Irn Bru Scottish Challenge Cup but saw their hopes of a five-trophy haul ended.

They were so close to the decider, 1-0 ahead until the 85th minute.

Colin Coates looked to have sent the Crues into the decider when he nodded home Paul Heatley's free-kick on 49 but Peter McMahon levelled on 85, smashing a finish into the top corner of the net.

And that paved the way for Ryan Harpur's winning penalty kick in the first-half of extra-time, rolling a finish into the bottom corner and sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Swifts keeper Stuart Addis made a finger-tip save to deny Heatley's shot in the second-half of extra-time and with it, Crusaders' hopes of a five-trophy season.

Holders Ballymena United host Cliftonville in the second semi-final next Tuesday (February 6).

There was, however, more positive news for Crusaders' title tilt on Tuesday evening as chasers Coleraine were denied by Linfield.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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