United v Swifts in semi-final play-off

Thursday, 4 May 2017

BALLYMENA United take on Dungannon Swifts next Monday (May 8) in the Europa League semi-final play-off at the Showgrounds, writes Shaun O'Neill.
The Sky Blues drew 1-1 with Tennent's Irish Cup finalists Coleraine at Ballycastle Road at the weekend - to finish FOURTH in the Premiership League table.
Cliftonville, who could have pipped United for the place, lost 3-1 to Linfield at Solitude - with the Blues being crowned League champions.
Now Ballymena boss David Jeffrey prepares United for their biggest match of the season - well aware it will not be an easy task seeing off Swifts and booking their place in the final.
So far this season United have drawn, lost and beaten Dungannon.
Back in September United drew 2-2 with goals from Conor McCloskey and Cathair Friel.
In November United were given a sound beating - losing 4-1 at the Showgrounds, with Leroy Millar getting the sole Ballymena goal.
On January 14 this year Ballymena won 3-2 at the Showgrounds with goals form Kyle Owens, Tony Kane (penalty) and Caolan Loughran.
Manager David Jeffrey recalled the day Swifts coming to town and gave his side a footballing lesson.
He expects a difficult encounter next Monday as he bids to guide United into Friday night's (May 12) final for a shot at booking a place in the Europa Cup.
United's fourth place in the Premiership is the side's first such placing since 1981!
Jeffrey is delighted with the position, in what has been a very encouraging season for United.
Earlier in the year the Sky Blues won the League Cup after a 2-0 victory over Carrick Rangers at Seaview.
They then worked hard for a top six placing which they confirmed a few weeks ago with an away win over Ballinamallard United.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.


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