Reds beat Lisburn Rangers to retain League Cup

Holders Cliftonville beat Lisburn Rangers 2-0 in the final at Blanchflower Stadium to retain the Women's League Cup.

Kirsty McGuinness struck after 11 minutes, with the Reds also hitting the woodwork twice in a dominant first half display.

Lisburn Rangers, playing in their first senior final, grew into the game in the second half, with Gracie Conway hitting the crossbar as they pushed for an equaliser.

Cliftonville staved off late pressure before Victoria Carleton fired home a second in injury time as they claimed the first piece of silverware in the women's domestic season in Northern Ireland.

Rampant reds in dominant first half

The holders made a bright start to the game at Blanchflower Stadium, with Caitlin McGuinness forcing Emma Higgins into an early low save.

The striker got on the end of her sister Kirsty's pass, but saw her low effort saved by the former Northern Ireland international.

A few minutes later the Reds would take the lead as Caitlin McGuinness burst down the right before squaring to Kirsty, who tapped home from close range.

It was one way traffic after that goal with Higgins keeping her side in the game.

Kirsty McGuinness had an effort from distance dip over the crossbar before Higgins denied Caitlin inside the area.

Fi Morgan then volleyed over the crossbar after a corner from Louise McDaniel.

McDaniel and Toni-Leigh Finnegan both hit the woodwork twice in the space of three minutes, with the former's effort bouncing off the crossbar and Finnegan's low strike after a free-flowing move coming back off the far post.

Higgins pushed an effort from Finnegan over the crossbar before denying Kirsty McGuinness twice in quick succession at the end of the half.

Lisburn Rangers fight back

It was a much scrappier start to the second half, with Lisburn Rangers growing into the game.

They were once again indebted to Higgins for keeping the score at 1-0 as she produced a superb reflex save to tip Finnegan's effort round the post.

Cliftonville would have to wait until the 75th minute to create another opportunity with substitutes Marissa Callaghan and Carla Devine combining, but the striker couldn't convert from the captain's low cross.

At the other end, the dangerous Gracie Conway went close for Lisburn Rangers as they pushed for an equaliser.

Ellie-Mae Dickson found the striker in space and her long-range effort rattled the crossbar, with Norney beaten.

Deep in injury time, Carleton scored a second for the Reds, firing home with a fine first-time effort after being found by Callaghan in the box.