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Four-goal Joe Gormley makes it smooth sailing for Cliftonville

Cliftonville 7 Dundela 2

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Cliftonville’s Joe Gormley

Cliftonville’s Joe Gormley

©INPHO/Mark Marlow

Cliftonville’s Joe Gormley

Joe Gormley struck four times as Cliftonville turned on the style against Dundela at Solitude.

After an 11-minute hat-trick in the first half, Gormley set skipper Chris Curran up for the hosts' fourth before getting his own name on the scoresheet again ahead of both Currans - Chris and Ryan - adding to the tally.

The breakthrough came on 30 minutes when Conor McMenamin touched the ball in behind a static Dundela defence and Gormley was on hand to slot home.

Five minutes later, he sidefoot-volleyed a Mark McKee assist into the top corner to double his personal tally and laid claim to the match ball before half-time when he seized on Johnny Taylor's back-pass to make it 3-0.

Odhrán Casey's foul on Owain Beggs allowed the Dundela midfielder to reduce the arrears from the penalty spot but what slim hopes they had of mounting an unlikely comeback after the break were snuffed out when Gormley teed Chris Curran up to make it 4-1.

The Reds skipper added the fifth with a low attempt which kissed both posts en route to crossing the line and, with the visiting defence all at sea, only visiting keeper Michael Argyrides' heroics kept the score down, with McMenamin and Gormley twice denied what looked certain goals.

He was powerless to stop Gormley grabbing his fourth from McMenamin's 59th-minute delivery and, though substitute Daniel Burns pulled one back for Colin Nixon's side with his first touch just seconds after emerging from the bench, the one-way traffic was relentless - the only surprise being that the Reds added just one further goal; Ryan Curran capping his 27th birthday with a simple finish from yet another McMenamin assist.

CLIFTONVILLE: Dunne, Ives, G Breen (McGuinness, 62), C Curran, R Curran, McMenamin, McKee, Bagnall (O'Brien, 62), Gormley (Devine, 62), Casey, Maguire.

Unused subs: D Breen, Foster, McKiernan, Snoddon.

DUNDELA: Argyrides, Kerr, Warnock, Taylor, Owens, Kane, McMaster, Faulkner, Keke (Wynne, 46), Beggs, Mathieson (Burns, 62).

Unused subs: King, McCawl, McComb, Scales, McVeigh.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Ballygowan)

Man of the match: Joe Gormley

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph