Harry Cavan Youth Cup semi-final
Dungannon Swifts U18s 1-2 Cliftonville Strollers
Wednesday, 1 February 2023
Dungannon Swifts U18 1 (Lynch 53’)
Cliftonville Strollers 2 (McGuinness 7’, 45’)
As it Happened:
Holders Dungannon Swifts U18s were knocked out of the Harry Cavan Youth Cup as a Kevin McGuinness double fired Cliftonville Strollers to this year’s final.
McGuinness netted a first-half brace before Padraig Lynch pulled one back for Swifts shortly after the break.
The Swifts were reduced to 10 men when Darragh Stewart saw red midway through the second half.
As early as the third minute Dungannon’s Kenny Ximenes had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Finton Coyle but it was Cliftonville Strollers who edged ahead with seven minutes on the clock when Shane Haughey picked out Man of the Match McGuinness who coolly found the bottom right corner with a neat finish.
At the other end Ryan Donnelly’s in-swinging corner looped over Strollers’ stopper Dylan Braik and came back off the upright.
Just before the half-hour mark Dungannon’s Adam Towe tried his luck from distance but his effort flew over the bar.
Cliftonville's first-half dominance was rewarded again on the stroke of half-time when McGuinness doubled his tally, guiding ball home from close range.
Half-time: Dungannon Swifts U18s 0-2 Cliftonville Strollers
Early in the second session Dungannon skipper Lynch signalled the holders' intent when he let fly from the edge of the area but his effort zipped wide of the upright.
A matter of minutes later Dungannon pulled one back when Lynch met Ximenes’ inch-perfect cross to head home.
Swifts were then left with an uphill task when they were reduced to 10 players after Stewart was sent off for a push on an opponent.
Despite Cliftonville having a one-goal advantage the Swifts kept plugging away and Thomas Galvin was denied from close range by Braik.
In additional time sub Liam Phinn could have made it three for the Reds but his low shot inside the six-yard box was saved by the feet of Ross Watson.
Cliftonville will now play the winners Ballinamallard United U18s and Maiden City U18s who face each other in the other last-four tie on February 8 at Stangmore Park.
Dungannon Swifts U18s: Ross Watson, Michael McElhatton, Marc Davidson, Eoin Morgan, Odhran Skelton, Ryan Donnelly, Darragh Stewart, Adam Towe Tomas Galvin, Padraig Lynch (C), Kenny Ximenes. Subs: Elijah Weathered, Sam Anderson, Oliver Crowe, Adam Ritchie.
Cliftonville Strollers: Dylan Braik, Daire Russell, Logan Wallace, Aiden Kelly (C), Shea Kearney, Padriag McVicker, Joshua Ness, Kevin McGuinness, Shane Haughey, Jack Berry, Matthew McWilliams. Subs: Liam Phinn, Ciaran Boyle, Stephen Crumlin, Sean Neilan, Darragh McGrandles.