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Tuesday 18 May 2021
Larne to face Linfield in Irish Cup final

Larne and Linfield will contest the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final at Mourneview Park on Friday evening, kick-off 7:45.

Double-chasing Linfield reached the decider courtesy of a three-goal defeat of Ballymena United while Larne, in their first final since 2005, got past Crusaders on penalties after it ended one apiece at the end of 90 minutes.

In the afternoon kick-off, Philip Lowry opened the scoring for the Crues on 27 minutes after Ben Kennedy delivered a cross from the left for the 31-year-old to stab home at the near post from the edge of the six-yard box. 

Larne levelled through Ronan Hale just before the hour when he cut in from the left and clinically turned the ball home with his right foot.

That was how it stayed for the remainder of the game, and with no extra time in this year’s competition it was straight to penalties to settle the tie.

Crues keeper Jonny Tuffey was cautioned and then dismissed during the shoot-out for repeatedly straying off his line but, when the dust settled, it took a sudden death strike from John Herron coupled with Gary Thompson smashing his kick against the frame of the goal to settle the game 6-5 in Larne's favour.

Linfield's passage into the final was, by comparison, a much more straightforward affair.

Stephen Fallon opened the scoring for David Healy's side on 19 minutes after he slid home Shayne Lavery's low ball to the near post.

Lavery doubled Linfield's advantage early in the second half when he capitalised on a slack backpass to nip in and slot the ball into the unguarded net.

Then, just after the hour, Lavery bagged his second of the evening with a near post bullet header from Niall Quinn's corner from the right.