Cliftonville legend Joe Gormley says it would be ‘amazing’ to win a trophy again with his beloved Reds but insists in terms of the league title race champions Linfield, big-spending Glentoran and today’s opponents Larne are the teams to beat even though the Solitude men sit at the top of the table.
Paddy McLaughlin’s side are unbeaten in the Irish Premiership this season with Gormley playing an important part in that after his campaign was cut short last time due to a serious injury.
In Cliftonville’s previous outing they drew 1-1 away to Linfield with ace marksman Gormley securing the point with a second-half equaliser.
The Reds have also drawn at Crusaders and defeated Glentoran and Coleraine on home turf, proving they are a tough nut to crack.
At the start of this term, the north Belfast outfit would have been viewed as dark horses in the title race but victory at Solitude against second-placed Larne this afternoon might change the thinking on that.
Cliftonville won the County Antrim Shield in dramatic fashion in 2020 but prior to that their last trophy was the League Cup in 2016, with Premiership glory in 2014.
Asked what it would mean to the club’s record goalscorer to hold aloft more silverware, Gormley said: “It would be amazing to lift a trophy with the club this season but we are not taking it that far yet.
“There’s a long way to go and the likes of Linfield, Glentoran and Larne are still the teams to beat.
“All we can do is keep playing the way we have been and keep plugging away.
“The next game is always the important one and we’ll think about that and give it a go.
“It is amazing to have quality attackers throughout the team and it is great to be involved in this side.
“We don’t know when we are beaten. We’ll just keep playing the way we are playing and who knows.”
Gormley is enjoying his football again after last season’s nightmare and it’s odds-on the striker will reach his personal goal target in the weeks and months ahead.
“Last season was probably the worst season I’ve had at Cliftonville. I only played 12 games and scored seven goals. I’m three off my target,” he said.
“If I beat seven goals I’ll be happy.
“The targets are always what I scored the year before so I’ll try and score more than seven goals and hopefully play more than 12 games,” said the 31-year-old with a smile.
Gormley added: “The boys keep saying to me my movement is decent so it’s just about getting the balls in the box and down the side and in behind.
“It’s down to the players in the team that they are supplying and all I can do is take the chances when they come along.
“I have worked hard getting back.
“I had a serious arm break and I don’t think people realised how bad it was. I had to get a plate and seven pins put in. To come back from that is good.
“People say that at my age I’m getting injured but I don’t have to prove people wrong because Paddy (McLaughlin) and everyone at Cliftonville have faith in me, so do my family and my partner and that’s what means the most to me.”
As is normally the case, Gormley was a summer target for other Premiership clubs. Larne were one. Glentoran another. In the past, Linfield and Crusaders have wanted the two-time Irish League title winner.
“I’m 31 years of age and clubs are still interested in signing me so I must be doing something right,” he stated.
“Until I stop playing I will always score goals no matter what. People say my legs will go but I feel alright.
“I’ve never been fast. It’s not as if I’m going to lose speed and I’ve always said I want to play with Cliftonville until they don’t want me.”