LEAGUE CUP FINAL: Mayse the man as Dungannon Swifts win first senior trophy

Ryan Mayse is mobbed by his Dungannon Swifts teammates after scoring his and his team's second against Ballymena United. Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Ryan Mayse is mobbed by his Dungannon Swifts teammates after scoring his and his team's second against Ballymena United. Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Dungannon Swifts 3 Ballymena United 1

A first half double from Ryan Mayse fired Dungannon Swifts to their first ever Senior cup win as they beat Ballymena United 3-1 in the BetMcLean League Cup final at the National Stadium.

Mayse opened the scoring for the Stangmore Park outfit on 10 minutes before Kyle Owens levelled things up seven minutes later.

But Mayse was on hand to grab his and the Swifts second eight minutes before half time, and they grabbed a second ten minutes after the restart to all but wrap up the game.

They rode out the final eight minutes with ten men to seal a deserved victory after their captain Ryan Harpur was dismissed following a clash with Kofi Balmer.

Ballymena showed their intent from the first whistle with Jonny McMurray blocking an attempted clearance by Chris Hegarty inside the first 10 seconds. Fortunately for the Swifts Stuart Addis was able to claim the loose ball.

Rodney McAree's side settled into the game and started to dominate possession.

The breakthrough came in the tenth minute as Paul McElroy's deep cross was headed back by Harpur into the path of the onrushing Mayse, who smashed it home via the crossbar.

That sparked the Sky Blues into life. First Willie Faulkner was denied by Grant Hutchinson on 15 minutes, before Addis pulled out a fantastic save to tip away Conor McCloskey's curling effort seconds later.

But from the resulting corner the Swifts were static and Owens thundered a header home.

Ross Glendinning was called into action on 26 minutes as Cormac Burke cut in from the left before curling a sublime effort towards the top corner, which the keeper did well to tip over.

At the other end Addis was called into action again on 28 minutes as the Swifts failed to clear another Millar corner, the keeper got down well at his near post to deny Andrew Burns.

McAree's men edged in front again eight minutes before the break - and it was that man Mayse again.

He got on the end of Seanan Clucas's cross, Glendinning save his initial effort, but Mayse reacted quickest to poke the ball home.

Jonny McMurray and the Ballymena fans were calling for a penalty minutes after the restart as he tussled with Hegarty in the box, referee Tim Marshall though felt the striker had been guilty of a foul and awarded a free out.

The Sky Blues' woes were compounded on 55 minutes as the Swifts extended their advantage.

Ryan Mayse's cross came all the way through to Burke on the far edge of the penalty area, he cut inside before curling a shot goalwards. Glendinning looked to have it covered but unbelievably the ball dropped in at the far post.

Dungannon should have wrapped the game up on 65 minutes after Jarlath O'Rourke picked out the unmarked McElroy at the back post, but his wayward header flew well wide of the target.

David Jeffrey introduced Matthew Shevlin and Patrick Weir from the bench as he went all out attack to try and rescue the game. They almost reduced the deficit on 69 minutes as McCloskey found space on the edge of the box, but his shot was expertly beat away by Addis.

Ballymena were handed a brief glimmer of hope with eight minutes to go as the Swifts were reduced to ten men, Harpur seeing red following an off the ball incident with Balmer.

As the game entered stoppage time Owens teed up Millar, but his shot flew over the bar from the edge of the box.