All-conquering Crusaders put Jeffrey's men to sword with early blitz to lift Shield in style

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Defenders of the Shield - 2018 Toals County Antrim FA champions, Crusaders.

Q Radio Sport

Crusaders have won the Toals County Antrim Shield, beating Ballymena 4-2 in Tuesday night's final at the Showgrounds.

It's the seventh time they've lifted the trophy and their first silverware since winning the league in 2016.

The north Belfast side raced into a three-goal lead in just over 20 minutes with strikes from Howard Beverland, Jordan Owens and Declan Caddell...

Johnny McMurray and Cathair Friel scored for the Sky Blues after the break, either side of the Crues' fourth goal from Paul Heatley.

Seaview winger Gavin Whyte was named man of the match.

He gave credit to David Jeffrey's team for their fightback, but said ultimately Crusaders were worthy winners...

Stephen Baxter's Crues are now unbeaten in 22 matches and remain on course for five trophies - four domestic and the Irn-Bru Cup in Scotland.

Goalscorer Heatley isn't ruling out a clean sweep...

Ballymena defender Emmet Friars says they're ruing missed chances, but have no complaints about the outcome....

The home fans gave their side a standing ovation at the end - and are already looking forward to the next game, against Jeffrey's old club this weekend...

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