New boy Chris Curran wings in for Cliftonville
Published 19/08/2013 | 07:59
Joe Gormley and Diarmuid O'Carroll may have drilled in the goals that broke Linfield's heart on Saturday but Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin has unearthed a sparkling gem in Chris Curran.
The Solitude new boy dazzled on the wing for the Reds, stretching the Linfield defence so that Gormley could provide the hammer blow.
It was going to take a player of exceptional quality to strengthen the Cliftonville panel following last season's heroics and Curran fits the bill.
Signed from Ballinamallard United this summer after an outstanding season for the Mallards, the midfielder has slotted seamlessly into the champions' devastating line-up.
He didn't manage to get on the scoresheet – despite coming close with a long-range thunderbolt – but the wing wizard, who was at Manchester United with keeper Conor Devlin, has quickly become a Solitude favourite on and off the pitch.
Leaving United was a tough call, but the 22-year-old is enjoying turning out for the champions and it doesn't get much better than beating Linfield at Windsor Park.
Gormley's finishing has always caught the eye but Curran's trickery on the flanks is also haunting defenders.
"We had to work harder than we should have because we let them back into the game," said Curran.
"Everyone dug-in in the second half and Diarmuid (O'Carroll) made a real impact when he came on, making it comfortable for us in the end.
"I love it here. All the boys have been very good to me and I can't thank them enough for the welcome they have given me.
"They have made the transition really easy for me. It wasn't easy leaving Ballinamallard, a good club with good people around it but I've been made to feel at home here and I'm enjoying the games."
Curran is a fully paid up member of the Gormley fan club.
"When he gets into those areas you don't doubt Joe," he added.
"You are just waiting for the net to ripple. His finishing was lethal and when he gets into those positions you know it's going to end well for us.
"He's started the season very well and long may it continue."
Linfield are being tipped to emerge as huge title contenders to the Reds and Curran added: "It was a big game, even this early in the season and we are just delighted to get out of here with the three points.
"You are never really sure how big an impact these games have at this stage of the season but we are relieved to get the three points."
One of the big talking points from the game was referee Colin Burns' decision not to award a penalty when Tomas Cosgrove clattered into Aaron Burns.
The Newtownabbey official left Windsor Park without making any comment but neither manager was singing the official's praises afterwards.
Reds boss Breslin (pictured) said: "I was a long way away (from the Burns incident) but I thought we had a few good shouts ourselves.
"It was one of those claims you get sometimes and other times you don't. I thought there was no foul for their first goal from the free-kick which James (Knowles) hit well.
"Let's just say I thought both managers were frustrated with the decisions being made by the referee."