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Mena the moment

Conor McMenamin is delighted to be back at Cliftonville and hopes the European goalscoring heroics he enjoyed elsewhere can inspire him in the weeks ahead.

The versatile 22-year-old was part of the Reds’ Football Development Centre before spells with Linfield, Loughgall and Glentoran, for whom he netted on his debut in a Europa League clash with Slovakian side MSK Zilina in 2015, and the former Warrenpoint Town man was raring to get back on the training pitch when the squad met up last week.

“It felt good to be back at it,” he says.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for some time, I signed a while ago and I couldn’t wait to get started. The sessions went well and all the boys made me feel very welcome so I can’t wait for the games to start.

“I was here when I was Under-16 and me and Jay Donnelly played together and I know a lot of the lads from outside football, which has helped me settle in.

“I supported the Club before I came here and I can’t wait to play for them again. Since I left, I always said if there was a Club I’d love to go back to it would be Cliftonville so I’m just delighted to be here.”

Last month’s transfer not only reunited McMenamin with his boyhood favourites, it also renewed his relationship with boss Barry Gray, who brought him to Warrenpoint, where he has blossomed in a defensive role having been employed as a striker by his previous employers.

“Barry said he was interested in me and we met up, had a chat and, as soon as we had that chat, I knew where my heart was and I wanted to play here,” he adds.

“I can’t wait for Europe in a few weeks. I’ve played in it before, it’s a big occasion and a good start to the year. The trips away help set a good bond – you get closer as a team so it’s all positive.

“I scored for Glentoran on my debut in the Europa League – hopefully I can repeat that. I’ve had a good experience and good times so I can’t wait for it to come around.”