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Saturday 25th November v. Cliftonville (away) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

FIRST ROUND - Tuesday, 25th November, 1997 - Ballymena Showgrounds
BALLYMENA UNITED 2
(Candlish '67; McGreevy '87)
LIMAVADY UNITED 0
-
Team: Beck, Carlisle, Stewart, Allen, Muir (sub McDowell 45), Boyd, McGreevy, McAuley, Patton (sub Storey 81), Candlish, Smyth. Sub (not used): Bustard.
Match Description: A weakened United team proved too much for First Division Limavady United, although the Sky Blues had to wait until the second half to make the breakthrough after riding their luck slightly. Scottish striker Neil Candlish opened the scoring after 67 minutes and Declan McGreevy added a second three minutes from time to send Ballymena into the semi-finals.

SEMI-FINAL: FIRST LEG - Tuesday, 13th January, 1998 - Coleraine Showgrounds
COLERAINE 2
(Yeo '21; Gaston '87)
BALLYMENA UNITED 5
(Hunter '5, '54; O'Connell '18, '59; Loughery '90)
Team: Crawford, Carlisle, Stewart, Allen, McDowell, Hunter, McGreevy, Loughery, Patton (sub Candlish 57), Muir (sub Bustard 25 (sub Murray 83)), O'Connell.
Match Description: Record signing Glenn Hunter scored his first goal on his full debut after only five minutes when he pounced on a miskick from the goalkeeper to open the scoring. PJ O'Connell rattled one it double the lead before Simon Yeo headed one back for the home side. Ballymena started the second half in blistering fashion with a another goal for both O'Connell and Hunter to make it 4-1. Paul Gaston gave Coleraine a slim hope with a consolation goal, but Dessie Loughery nipped in late on to seal a 5-2 victory.

SEMI-FINAL: SECOND LEG - Tuesday, 10th February, 1998 - Ballymena Showgrounds
BALLYMENA UNITED 6
(Hunter '18, '34; Knell '25; Patton '46, '74; Loughery '55)
COLERAINE 0
-
Team: Beck, Carlisle, Stewart, Allen, McConnell (sub Storey 46), McDowell, McGreevy (sub Murray), Candlish, Patton, Hunter (sub Loughery 46), Knell.
Match Description: If the first leg wasn't bad enough for Kenny Shiels' Coleraine side - a fantastic 6-0 victory left the aggregate score 11-2 to Ballymena United. Glenn Hunter headed home the first after 18 minutes from a Candlish cross. Phillip Knell struck direct from a free-kick seven minutes later, and Patton crossed for Hunter's second 34 minutes in. The second half was as relentless as the first as Barry Patton struck just after the break. Dessie Loughery added a fifth with a rebound and Patton got number six with 14 minutes to spare as United embarassed their bitter rivals.

FINAL: FIRST LEG - Thursday, 12th March, 1998 - St. Julian's Road
OMAGH TOWN 1
(McHugh '58)
BALLYMENA UNITED 1
(Loughery '54)
Omagh Town Team:Unknown
Ballymena United Team: Beck, McDowell, Stewart, Allen, McConnell, Bustard, McGreevy, Loughery, Patton, Muir, Hunter. Subs (all used): Murray, Candlish, Boyd.
Referee: Unknown
Match Description: Ballymena United grabbed a valuable away goal in the first leg of the Irish News Cup final at St. Julian's Road. Dessie Loughery opened the scoring for United in the lack-lustre final on 54 minutes however that was cancelled out by Michael McHugh's effort for Omagh just four minutes later.

FINAL: SECOND LEG - Thursday, 2th April, 1998 - Ballymena Showgrounds
BALLYMENA UNITED 0
-
OMAGH TOWN 1
(Wilson '33)
Ballymena United Team: Crawford, Carlisle (sub Stewart), Boyd, Allen, McDowell, Candlish, McGreevy (sub Hunter), Loughery, Patton, Muir, Knell (sub Bustard).
Omagh Town Team: McBrearty, Johnston, Donaghy (sub Toland) , Donnelly, McGuinness, Kavanagh, Wilson (sub McKeever), Gallagher, Frazer, Crilly, McHugh. Subs (not used): Mooney.
Referee: George McKay (Strabane)
Match Description: Ballymena United started strong at the Showgrounds, but despite having the guts of the pressure fell behind in the 33rd minute. Goalkeeper Darren Crawford raced out to collect a ball but slipped and that allowed Frankie Wilson to fire home what turned out to be the winning goal. Omagh began to hold their own and Ballymena failed to break Roy McCreadie's side down as they left with the Irish News Cup.


HONOURS
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