Dungannon Swifts 1 Cliftonville 4
Rory Donnelly was thrilled that his third hat-trick of the season extended Cliftonville’s amazing winning streak to 13, seeing off the gritty challenge of Dungannon Swifts.
Donnelly netted his first just 40 seconds into the action, then tapped in his second on 17 minutes before diverting a Barry Holland cross inside the left post for his third just 90 seconds later.
Swifts manager Dixie Robinson was shell-shocked at the stunning start by his opponents.
“When they scored their third on 19 minutes, if I’m being honest, I was wishing the ground would swallow me up as I was fearing a real mauling,” he said.
Sub Joe Gormley drilled in a stunning strike and the hosts grabbed a consolation goal through Michael Funston, but it was all about Donnelly at Stangmore Park, the rookie striker now with 17 goals for the season.
“It was a good start for me, but a great start for the team,” he said after taking his tally as a senior player to 30 goals.
“The team is working hard and pulling well together — and that is what it is all about.
“There is a great set of lads at the club and we are keen to keep pushing on, one game at a time. We don’t look beyond the next game and, while we have a good sequence of 13 wins now, we just want to focus on the next match.”