Joe Gormley’s hat-trick in Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup Sixth Round victory over Crusaders saw him become the first ever Cliftonville player to break the 20-goal barrier in four separate seasons.
His tallies in three consecutive campaigns between 2012-2015 earned the company of renowned trio Kevin McGarry, Sid Over and Norman McCaw in registering a triumvirate of 20-strike returns, but this weekend’s treble means he’s now out in front in that regard – and his overall tally of 143 in 215 appearances leave him just 10 shy of Chris Scannell and 28 away from breaking McGarry’s all-time Club record.
Furthermore, the 28-year-old is now only the second Cliftonville player in history to clock up 10 hat-tricks but still needs another three to catch Over, who was Solitude’s hotshot of the 1930s.
Reflecting on Saturday’s success, Gormley says: “We just had to look at what was being said about us and knew we had to go out and get that win.
“We hadn’t beaten the Crues in a very long time and I think you could see how much everyone wanted to change that. It was a great performance and a great result and it shows the way we know we can play.”
On walking away with yet another matchball, he adds: “It was great for me, especially with my mum and my girlfriend there to see it. Everything I do, I do it for my family and the people who have always supported me through everything. I know how much a win on Saturday meant to everyone and thankfully we were able to get it.”
In addition to Gormley’s contribution, Saturday also maintained Cliftonville’s record of never having lost an Irish Cup clash to Crusaders at Solitude.
This weekend’s encounter was the Reds’ fourth home game in the competition against their North Belfast rivals – and 138th Solitude meeting in all competitions – and came 27 years since a scoreless draw between the sides at the same venue provided Cliftonville’s first ever home fixture in the modern Sixth Round.