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Conor’s goalden touch

It was a goal that offered Cliftonville a glimmer of a huge Europa League upset and, though Conor McMenamin’s strike to draw the Reds level against Haugesund last night wasn’t enough to spark a comeback, it did contribute to a series of notable statistics clocked up during the past few weeks.

McMenamin’s close-range finish with 17 minutes on the clock at Haugesund Stadion lifted the 23-year-old level at the top of the Club’s all-time European goalscorers – and, having also found the net on continental duty for Glentoran earlier in his career, arguably earns him the distinction of being the squad’s sharpest shooter in UEFA competition, although the likes of fellow double goal-getter Joe Gormley may well have something to say about that.

Earlier in the month, meanwhile, Cliftonville recorded the Club’s biggest ever European victory when Barry Town United were beaten 4-0 in the Preliminary Round at Solitude.

Each goal that night carried particular significance of its own, with McMenamin – who was on target for the Glens against MSK Zilina four years ago – becoming the Reds’ first ever Euro scorer to have also struck for another Irish League side in Europe.

Gormley’s sizzling finish to make it 2-0 was the 100th goal scored in European fixtures involving Cliftonville, while the second-half strikes from Conor McDermott and Rory Donnelly represented their first continental conversions.

At the other end of the park, meanwhile, Richard Brush’s clean sheets against the Welsh outfit made him just the second Reds goalkeeper in history to complete both legs of a Euro tie without conceding a goal, following on from John Connolly’s heroics against HNK Cibalia in 2010.

Cliftonville’s European Goalscorers
Liam Boyce
Jay Donnelly
Joe Gormley
Conor McMenamin

Shaun Strang
Paul Stokes
Gerry Flynn
Chris Scannell
Kieran O’Connor
Mark Holland
Ciaran Caldwell
Barry Johnston
Ross Lavery
Davy McDaid
Rory Donnelly
Conor McDermott