Irish Cup: Ballymena United 4-1 Dungannon Swifts

Ballymena beat Dungannon at Showgrounds

Ballymena United clinched a place in the Irish Cup semi-finals by seeing off Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds.

Davy Munster's header went in off the inside of the post in the second minute and Johnny Taylor glanced home from a Tony Kane corner in the 22nd minute.

Darren Boyce's header from a Jim Ervin delivery on the half hour made it 3-0 but Ryan Harpur scrambled the ball over the line 10 minutes after the interval.

Boyce fired home his second of the game with three minutes remaining.

Ballymena got off to the perfect start when central defender Munster was left unmarked to nod home from six yards after meeting Kane's free-kick.

Gareth Buchanan saved from Alan Teggart, but Taylor increased his side's lead soon after.

Boyce took advantage of more poor Dungannon defending for the third goal to keep his side on track for their fourth win over the Swifts in all competitions this season.

Buchanan did well to push over David Cushley's right-foot shot, while for the Swifts, David McCullough hit the post with a close-range header and Gary Liggett fired over from the rebound.

Before half-time, Cushley saw a well-struck left-foot shot cannon off the post.

Harpur pulled a goal back after Taylor had cleared Liggett's attempt off the line, and the Swifts went close to a second on several occasions, before Boyce made the victory safe against the club with which he enjoyed a productive spell in the first half of the season.

Alan Davidson passed the ball across the area and the ex-Coleraine striker provided the clinical finish.

"With the wind at our backs, we had to start well and those early goals settled our nerves," said Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson.

"We were fairly comfortable in the first half but we were up against it a bit for a spell in the second, before Darren's goal sealed it."

Ballymena will face Championship Two side Queen's University in the semi-finals on 5 April.

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