Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville have regained their swagger and it's all down to Barry, says Rory Donnelly

Glentoran 0-2 Cliftonville

By Alex Mills

Rory Donnelly believes there are good days up ahead for fast-improving Cliftonville.

The 25-year-old striker, who returned to the Reds in the summer following a five-year stint in England, opened his goal account for the season with a glorious double against an out-of-sorts Glentoran at the Oval.

Donnelly admitted it hasn't been easy since moving back from Gillingham, but he is beginning to come to terms with life back in the Irish League.

"It's been tough making the adjustment, the game over here is a lot more physical, so I knew it would take a bit of time for me to settle in," said Donnelly. "It was nice to get off the mark, it's been a long time coming. Hopefully, there are more to come.

"Getting the three points was important - it was good to top them off with a couple of goals."

Barry Gray's troops are now unbeaten in six games and are starting to look like a team on a mission. Donnelly reckons the best is yet to come: "A club like Cliftonville has to be pushing for Europe - not just once, but every season.

"Given the poor start we had to the league campaign, achieving European football is the minimum requirement. We know we are playing catch up on the teams above us, but who is to say we can't go on a good run from now until the end of the season?"

"We are starting to get a bit of momentum going - and it's all down to the manager.

"Our results were not good earlier in the season. Barry brought all the boys in for a couple of meetings, just to discuss what way we need to set up against specific teams.

"Every one of the boys has bought into what he is trying to achieve at the football club. We are now unbeaten in six games, so credit must go to the boss."

Donnelly demonstrated his old predatory instincts by getting on to the end of a Joe Gormley cross to head his team into a first half lead at the Oval.

"It's always a tough game when you come to the Oval. Glentoran tried to press us back at the start, but we handled it well. Once we got the goal, I though we were comfortable enough," he added.

For Glentoran boss Gary Haveron, it was another bad day at the office.

"The only stats that matter are the goals that are scored," said the Glentoran boss. "They got two and we got none, so that's the difference. They had the quality in the final third.

"We worked the ball into good areas time and time again, but our final ball was pathetic. It's something we have to address."

GLENTORAN: Morris, Kane (McNicholl 67), Birney, Addis, Kelly, Allen, McGuigan (Knowles 25), McMullan, Kerr, McCawl (Gordon 82), McDaid. Unused subs: Smith, Nelson.

CLIFTONVILLE: Neeson, McGovern (Lavery 54), Ives, Breen, Harney, Curran, Bagnall, Winchester (Hughes 72), Gormley, J Donnelly (Garrett), R Donnelly. Unused subs: Long, M Donnelly.

Man of the match: Rory Donnelly

Referee: Raymond Crangle.

Match rating 5/10.

Belfast Telegraph

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