Belfast Telegraph

Donnelly has eyes on more wonder goals for Cliftonville

By Conor McLaughlin

Man-of-the-moment Rory Donnelly has admitted even he was shocked by the incredible strike that saw him hog the headlines for the second time in less than a fortnight.

The Cliftonville frontman is in the limelight again after lashing home an outrageous long-range effort in his side’s 4-2 defeat of Linfield.

And just as admirers across the planet have been left gobsmacked by his wizardry thanks to widespread Internet coverage, the player himself could barely believe it either.

“I thought it was going over the bar,” he said. “I just took a touch, hit it and had no idea it was going in until the ball hit the net.”

The same could be said of virtually everyone inside Solitude with one mobile phone recording on YouTube capturing perfectly the moment as groans of frustration turned to roars of delight while the home support look on at a ball which seems destined to soar out of play before magically curling beyond the despairing grasp of goalkeeper Alan Blayney and under the crossbar.

Linfield boss David Jeffrey summed it up perfectly when he said: “At one stage, I thought the strike was going to smack into the back of the stand but there was a wicked dip on what turned out to be an absolutely fantastic goal”.

The effort —which Donnelly smashed in from the most unlikely of angles after bamboozling Blues defender Stephen Douglas on the touchline — came just 10 days after the 19-year-old had plundered a hat-trick against the same opponents in the County Antrim Shield.

On that occasion, he first lashed home with a precise finish along the floor and then struck an unstoppable blast into the top corner for a strike which was later named as the Carling Goal of the Month for October.

Both of those were left-footed attempts and after sealing his treble with a firm header, he teased the Blues again on Saturday with two goals using his right foot!

After lobbing Blayney following a short backpass from Douglas he snuffed out Linfield hopes of a comeback with a goal that many Cliftonville fans believe is the greatest ever scored at Solitude.

“It’s a privilege to hear people say things like that,” he said.

“I want to do well for our supporters because they’re unbelievable.”

As used as Reds fans are to seeing their starlet light games up with his trickery and five-star finishing, they were still left in awe of a goal which, like Glentoran striker Matty Burrows’ famous backheel-volley and Johnny Black’s strike from inside his own half for Coleraine, has catapulted the Irish League to global notoriety.

Donnelly himself is making a habit of scoring spectacular goals and Reds fans can look forward to more of the same.

“It’s just something I work on in training,” he added.

“I’m a striker and I’m supposed to score goals so I have to keep trying different things.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph