Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Donnelly's getting back into the groove as Reds extend their run

Warrenpoint Town 1 Cliftonville 3

By Gareth McCullough

Rory Donnelly says he's settled back into life at Solitude after hitting his seventh goal of the season to help Cliftonville maintain their superb recent run of form.

Donnelly hit the second goal in a 3-1 away win over manager Barry Gray's former club Warrenpoint at Milltown on Saturday.

After Joe Gormley had put the Reds in front early on, Sean Mackle levelled for the hosts.

But when Donnelly made it 2-1 on the half-hour, there was only really going to be one winner and Rory's younger brother Jay added the third deep into stoppage time at the end of the match.

"It's all about momentum and sometimes you need a bit of luck," said the elder sibling.

"I think today, we got that bit of luck with the break of the ball at times. But the run we've been on has been great.

"The team's performing well and that's down to the manager and the coaching staff. We just need to continue doing what we're doing and keep this run going," added the 25-year-old, who revealed that Gray referenced his old club, where he spent 11 years, in the pre-match team talk. "Before the game he did mention about it, but no matter what game it is or who you're playing - Warrenpoint, Linfield or whoever it is - you go out to win every game and today was no different," explained the former Swansea City, Tranmere and Gillingham striker, who is looking forward to a tough run of games that see the Reds face the other six sides in the top seven before the turn of the year.

"It's a big month for us, but we're not looking too far ahead at the moment. Next up we've got Glenavon at home and we'll try and get a result there and then build on that and then take it into the big games still to come.

"My team-mates and the manager have all helped welcome me back in. My work rate has improved and my fitness has improved. That was always going to come but, at the start, I was finding it hard to get settled back into Irish League football. But I think I've settled back in well now and the team is performing well."

Warrenpoint: Parr, Moan (Lyttle, 88 mins), Dane, Mackle, M Murray, McMenamin, S Murray, Davidson, TJ Murray, Wallace, McGrandles (Forde, 72 mins). Unused subs: Foster, Reilly, Turker.

Cliftonville: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Breen, Harney, Curran, Garrett (Cosgrove, 59 mins), Winchester (Bagnall, 56 mins), Gormley, J Donnelly, R Donnelly. Unused subs: Hughes, M Donnelly, Lavery.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Man of the match: Rory Donnelly

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph