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Tommy Breslin fires out warning to Cliftonville's title rivals

By Bill Steele

Cliftonville laid down a marker as they began their Danske Bank Premiership title challenge with victory over Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

Billed by many as an opening day clash between two dark horses for the league, the Reds came out on top thanks to a solitary Davy McDaid goal and boss Tommy Breslin says his side are very much in it to win it this season.

"I've said this before and I'll make no bones - we don't enter the league to finish sixth or seventh. We want to try and win the league," he said.

"Realistically, will we score enough goals? We'll see. Can we keep everyone fit? We'll see. I think we showed we're competitive, we've a good team, we've a strong squad and we'll get better as the season goes on."

Gary Hamilton, in the blue corner, said his team's display "wasn't good enough", adding that he was still actively looking to strengthen his hand before the transfer window closes.

He said: "We're always looking, it's just looking for the players that we can afford. There are plenty of players that we would have loved to have brought to the club but unfortunately financially we can't compete with some of the teams and that's just the way it is, Michael Carvill being an example of that.

"We knew he was talking to other clubs and we didn't even bother talking to him because we knew we couldn't get anywhere near him.

"There's players out there and players you'd love to bring to the club that we think would make us better but I don't blame the players when they take the money that's available at some clubs."

McDaid gave the away team the lead on 21 minutes when Jay Donnelly held off a challenge from Kyle Neill. His shot was pushed out by Jonny Tuffey but bounced off McDaid's knee to cross the line.

The Reds were by far the better side over the 90 minutes, while Glenavon didn't get going until Hamilton decided to introduce himself and young Joel Cooper.

The best of their chances came when the player-manager's corner found the head of Rhys Marshall, with Martin Donnelly coming to the rescue on the line, while later Kevin Braniff was unlucky with a spectacular 30 yard drive.

GLENAVON 0

CLIFTONVILLE 1

glenavon: Tuffey, Neill, Kelly. Dillon, Lindsay, Marshall, Bradley, Patton, Sykes, Caldwell, Braniff. Subs: Kilmartin (Neill, 46 mins), Cooper (Sykes, 64 mins), Hall, Hamilton (Bradley 64), Burns.

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Bonner, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, M Donnelly, Seydak, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Brennan, Garrett (M Donnelly, 76 mins), Murray (J Donnelly, 76 mins), Morgan, McGrandles.

Man of the match: Jonny Tuffey (right)

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

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