BetMcLean Cup


16 Jan 2024

Linfield and Portadown will contest the BetMcLean Cup final at Windsor Park on Sunday 10 March 2024 (kick-off 3pm).

The sides reached the decider following semi-finals victories over Dungannon Swifts and Glenavon respectively.

Holders Linfield continued their defence of the trophy thanks to two Kyle McClean goals at Stangmore Park.

The Blues needed just seven minutes to seize the advantage. Skipper Jamie Mulgrew embarked on a run across the edge of the area before being brought down and, from the subsequent free-kick, McClean curled a stunning effort into the top right corner.

Rodney McAree's side were thrown a potential lifeline early in the second half when Linfield were reduced to ten men following Euan East's dismissal for attempting to block a Declan Dunne clearance from his hands, his second booking of the game.

But Linfield doubled their advantage on 70 minutes with McClean's second of the evening after he ran onto the ball to beat Dunne at the second attempt after the home keeper had saved the initial effort.

However, the Swifts did pull one back eight minutes from time through Joe Moore after he pounced on a loose ball inside the box before firing low into the bottom right corner ... but it wasn't enough to spark a comeback as Linfield held on to progress.

Portadown needed only a first half spot-kick to get past Mid Ulster neighbours Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

The deadlock was broken just before the half-hour mark. Portadown striker Zach Barr burst into the box only to be brought down by keeper Mark Byrne and, from the subsequent spot-kick, Ryan Mayse confidently tucked the ball away.

The Ports might have doubled their lead early in the second half when Mayse laid the ball off for Eamon Fyfe across the box but he could only fire wide from point blank range.

Moments later Glenavon came within a whisker of grabbing the equaliser when Jack Malone unleashed a superb strike from around 20 yards only for the ball to come crashing back off the left post.

Niall Currie's almost that second insurance goal late in the game after Kenny Kane went one-on-one with Byrne only for the Glenavon keeper to make the save before David Toure cleared the danger.