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Rec and roll

Marissa Callaghan hit a hat-trick as Cliftonville Ladies began their Danske Bank Women’s Premiership campaign with a 7-0 victory over Comber Rec Ladies at Solitude this evening.

Amber Dempster registered a brace in addition to goals from Rachel McConnell and Toni-Leigh Finnegan helping the hosts to a stylish three points.

Despite dominating from the start, the Reds had to be patient before making the breakthrough and, indeed, a Niamh Connolly strike against the woodwork had looked to be the sum total of their first-half efforts until Callaghan found the net on the stroke of half-time after being picked out by Megan Weatherall.

The second-half was just 20 seconds old by the time McConnell – the hero of last week’s County Antrim Cup defeat of Linfield Ladies – made it 2-0 ahead of Dempster adding the third.

Academy graduate Finnegan extended Cliftonville’s advantage to four before Callaghan expedited her claim for the matchball; completing her double with a smart finish before making it a personal treble from the penalty spot.

Dempster then unleashed a rocket of a strike to complete the scoring ensure the Reds began their new League schedule in seventh heaven.