Belfast Telegraph

Wonder goal down to practice, says McDermott

Cliftonville 4 Warrenpoint Town 0

Conor McDermott
Conor McDermott

By Stephen Looney

Conor McDermott has revealed that his goal of the season contender - scored from his own half at Solitude on Saturday - came straight from the training ground.

Cliftonville purred on a perfect day for the Reds against struggling Warrenpoint Town, and ruined Barry Gray's return to the north Belfast venue.

Former Stevenage United player Mark McKee opened the scoring on his full debut for the Reds before McDermott beat Berraat Turker with a spectacular 60-yard strike.

Joe Gormley then finished a fine move and Ryan Curran scored from the penalty spot after the break.

The visitors rarely got out of their own half and remain rooted to the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, while the Reds stay just a point behind table-toppers Coleraine.

"It's happened a couple of times in training," beamed McDermott. "The gaffer was probably asking what I was doing but I've scored one or two like that in training.

"If it doesn't go in, what's the worst that can happen? The keeper gets it. But I thought I'd have a go.

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"The ball sat nicely after I did the flick, I had a look up and saw Turker off his line and I thought, 'Why not?' The second touch set it up nicely, I struck it well and thankfully it went in.

"The ability in the squad is frightening. Last season Cliftonville's problem was keeping clean sheets, they conceded a lot of goals, and Paddy (boss McLaughlin), to be fair to him, has shored up the defence and I think we have kept nine clean sheets in the league so far this season.

"We started from the back, improved that aspect and it's going right through the team. The goals are phenomenal, so it's going well. There's a good feeling around the club at the minute.

"The movement of the front five is phenomenal, everything's coming together nicely but we can't get too far ahead of ourselves. We have a big job next week at Ballymena, we'll keep playing the way we are playing and hopefully it goes well."

Point boss Gray, who was sacked by Cliftonville last year, mused: "In the season Warrenpoint got relegated, I took two players from Cliftonville in the January transfer window, Johnny McMurray and Marty Murray, and that was damn near enough to save us.

"That team had lost 13 games on the bounce, then went 11 or 12 games unbeaten, which was huge, and that's what we need to do in this January transfer window.

"It could be two players, it could be six, we don't know yet. We have an imbalanced squad, kids playing senior football for the first time and 14 defenders in a squad of 20."

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott (Foster 60mins), Breen, McKee (Wilson 74mins), Harney, C Curran (c), R Curran, R Donnelly (Maguire 45mins), Doherty, Gormley, A Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, Casey, Gorman, McCurry.

Warrenpoint Town: Turker, Bennett, Reilly, McVeigh, O'Sullivan (Murnaghan 78mins), Doyle (Smith 62mins), Young, Forde, Watters (Mullen 66mins), Cowan, McCann. Unused subs: Byrne, O'Kane.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor).

Man of the match: Ronan Doherty.

Match rating: 7/10

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