Boyce goals can make Cliftonville so hot
Liam Boyce is the man who can fire Cliftonville to title glory.
That’s the view of his team-mate Martin Donnelly as Cliftonville plot another assault on the Gibson Cup.
The Reds challenge fell away last season but the north Belfast side might have given Linfield a run for their money if Swansea City had not swooped for starlet Rory Donnelly.
Cliftonville played some stunning football in the last campaign and a County Antrim Shield triumph was a significant reward for their efforts.
Linfield left Solitude with their tails between their legs on a few occasions but now the challenge for Tommy Breslin’s men is to sustain a title challenge.
And winger Donnelly believes goal-getter Boyce is the key piece in their jigsaw.
“I would say Liam Boyce could be our star man,” said Donnelly.
“Last year I didn’t think he was fit enough and needed games but this year he has got a good pre-season under his belt and he is looking bang in form. I can’t wait to see him this year.
“Everyone has the same aspirations — you want to win the league and if we can manage it I don’t know, but last season we did really well.
“Winning 15 games on the bounce was a great achievement but then Rory (Donnelly) leaving us didn’t help.
“But what happened to him is a reminder to the players of what can happen if you take your chance.
“Hopefully, following a few additions to the squad, we can do even better.
“Apart from the European blip when we lost 4-0 we have been doing very well in pre-season.”
Donnelly is loving life at Solitude and feels privileged to play for the club he supported as a boy.
“Once I made the move (from Crusaders) I haven’t looked back, it’s been unbelievable,” he added.
“I supported the club so every time I score a goal or set one up I celebrate like one of the fans.”
Portadown kick off the Danske Bank Premiership on a high after retaining the services of Kevin Braniff.
Braniff signed a contract extension which the Ports say will “keep him at Shamrock Park for the rest of his career.”