Striker comes off the bench with a double strike to win the League Cup for Cliftonville
Substitute Joe Gormley admitted he had a ‘good feeling’ when manager Paddy McLaughlin gave him the nod in yesterday’s sensational BetMcLean League Cup Final win over Coleraine at Windsor Park.
The Reds may have been two goals down courtesy of strikes from Matthew Shevlin and Stephen Lowry, but ‘Joe-The-Goal’ -- the club’s record scorer — had something special planned after sitting in the dugout watching his team mates struggling for an hour.
He hit a delicious double along with fellow substitute Paul O’Neill to turn the game on its head and send the Red Army in raptures. Gormley admitted it was all in a day’s work.
“That’s my job, I’m a goal scorer,” he beamed as he sipped a celebratory drink. “I simply thrive on scoring goals. This team just doesn’t know when its beaten.
“With the ability and the quality we have in our team, we know we’ll always get a chance, maybe two, maybe three.
“Do you know what, I just love scoring goals, but it’s the boys in the team that give me the opportunity to do that, so I have to thank them.
“It’s a team game, the lads have been amazing throughout the year and hopefully it will continue. I was a wee bit disappointed to have another header ruled out.
“I think if had been allowed, Ian Baraclough would have called me up (to the Northern Ireland squad). To be honest, I don’t think I was offside.
“Seriously, I was just glad to get the goals and it was down to the team providing me with the chances.”
At two-nil down, Reds boss Paddy McLaughlin made the decision to introduce Gormley, O’Neill and captain Chris Curran — what a decision it was.
“With boys like that it was no real gamble,” said McLaughlin. “I was thinking was this going to be a sad story, one of those disappointing days on the big stage.
“We decided to just go for it. We created chances and Joe did, what Joe does, he scores. Blink your eyes and he’s gone, that’s how dangerous he is.
“When Paul and Joe came on, it was just what we needed – and also the captain’s influence. It was what the game was crying out for. The team was on its knees, we needed them badly and they delivered.
“It was an incredible response from the players to come back the way they did. You’re 2-0 down in a cup final, you’re looking at the clock and it hasn’t been your day.
"The character and resilience they showed to get back in the game was incredible. So much has been said about the players but you’ll never beat this team for heart and desire; you couldn’t put a price on that.
“There’s no-one in our league who can match that and that’s what got us over the line. We are very blessed to have these kinds of players. I’m leaving out boys like Jamie Harney and Seanna Foster.
“There are legends of this club we have been able to turn to in Chris Curran and Joe and we are so blessed to have them to call on.”
Curran believes the victory could be the platform for even better things for the Reds.
“This is a special feeling to do it with Paddy,” he said. “It’s been a tough few days since the successful period we had (under the late Tommy Breslin) with a lot of disappointments.
“I hoped the County Antrim Shield a few years ago would have been the springboard but we’ve had to go back a couple of steps to eventually move forward and hopefully this is now the springboard to achieve something special.
"You always have doubts if these days would return. I remember a day when we were coming back from Institute – who were managed by Paddy then – and we lost 6-4 in a mad game.
“I remember sitting across from Joe and thinking ‘give us one more good day, we don’t want to talk about those days in the past forever’.
“It is just amazing to get across the line and win a trophy with this group and this manager. Hopefully, it can be the platform for this club to go on and do something special.”