Ahead of Cliftonville’s Europa League clash with Haugesund in Norway, our mini series of continental anniversaries takes a timely step back to the Club’s first ever visit to Scandinavia.
For it was on this day in 1996 that the Reds completed their InterToto Cup obligations with a clash against Aalborg.
Having garnered a solitary point from their prior Group 1 outings against Standard Liege, Hapoel Haifa and Stuttgart, Marty Quinn’s side travelled to the Nordjyske Arena playing for pride more than anything else and were certainly giving a more than decent account of themselves despite midfielder Mark O’Neill having to assume goalkeeping duties following Dean Smyth’s dismissal.
Unfortunately for the visitors, a late flurry of Aalborg goals saw them turn a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 victory that sent the Danes to the top of the table, a position from which they were usurped courtesy of a 1-0 loss in Liege the following week.
Cliftonville: Smyth, Hill, Flynn, Small, McDonagh, Strang, McCann, O’Neill, O’Connor, Stokes, Donnelly.
Subs: Collins (for Hill), McGlinchey (for McCann), Feehan (for Stokes).
Today also marks 12 years since another 4-0 defeat in the InterToto Cup – this time inflicted by KAA Gent of Belgium.
Leading 2-0 from the first leg of the 2007 Second Round tie, The Buffalos opened the scoring at Windsor Park through Dominic Foley – the former Ireland international who had netted both goals at Jules Ottenstadion the previous week – before Adekambi Olufade (2) and Davy De Beule completed a 6-0 aggregate success.
Cliftonville: Connolly, Fleming, M Holland, Johnston, McAlinden, B Holland, Murphy, O’Hara, Kennedy, Sweeney, O’Connor.
Subs: Friars (for Murphy), Smyth (for McAlinden), C McMullan (for Sweeney).
And, as if to further demonstrate that July 14 is far from a favourable date for the Club, today is also the third anniversary of a heartbreaking home loss to AEK Larnaca.
Ahead through Jason McGuinness early on, a little bit of history was made when Jay Donnelly – who had scored against Differdange the previous week – became the first ever Cliftonville player to net in successive European games when he made it 2-0, only for the visitors to roar back in a stunning 16 minute spell that saw Ivan Trickovski, Elias Charalambous and Joan Thomas hit the target in a 3-2 win that the Cypriots extended by a further two goals when the sides renewed Europa League rivalries seven days later.
Cliftonville: J Mooney, Ives, Bonner, McGuinness, Curran, Knowles, McDaid, M Donnelly, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove.
Subs: Burke, McGovern, Ramsey, Garrett (for Winchester), Hughes (for McDaid), D Murray, Lavery (for M Donnelly).