The scouts were once again there to see Rory but it was namesake Martin Donnelly who set tongues wagging at Solitude on Saturday.
The tricky winger had to bide his time after being named among Cliftonville’s substitutes but, thrown into the action with less than a quarter of an hour to play, he bagged a truly wonderful goal that, following on from Rory’s heroics in October and November, is an early contender for December’s Goal of the Month.
After picking up possession on the halfway line, the former Crusaders ace spun away from Andy Hall and skipped past the challenge of Mark Cooling, sent Andy Hunter and David McCullough one way and then the other before dinking a perfectly-weighted chip over goalkeeper Billy Brennan to seal a 14th win in a row.
“I took a risk in taking Martin and a few others out of the team but thankfully it paid off,” said boss Tommy Breslin.
“I have a good squad at my disposal and I think it’s important to make the best use of it by giving people a chance and resting others.”
George McMullan had poked Cliftonville in front and, after Hunter’s blistering free-kick levelled matters, sub Joe Gormley restored the home lead ahead of Donnelly’s clinical clincher.