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200 to won

Joe Gormley smashed the 200 goal barrier with the 11th hat-trick of his Cliftonville career as Dungannon Swifts this weekend joined Crusaders in shipping 17 strikes to the most clinical marksman in the Club’s history.

After 301 appearances, the 29-year-old now sits on 201 goals for the Reds – an outrageous average of one just under every one-and-a-half games.

His opener from the penalty spot against the Crues on October 5, 2018, saw him break a 57-year-old record set when Kevin McGarry netted the last of his 170 goals for the Club in a League encounter with Bangor on March 4, 1961.

While McGarry – who beat the previous landmark of 127 set by Sid Over – amassed his total after 286 appearances for the Reds, Gormley needed just 247 to set his own goalscoring milestone, one which he has since increased substantially.

Joe made his debut in a friendly with The New Saints on June 18, 2011 and, though his injury-time winner at Park Hall doesn’t count towards his tally, his incredible half-volley from the halfway line provided an early glimpse of what was to come in a Red shirt – and was the first of 41 goals he has scored in friendlies, taking his overall unofficial count to 242.

His first competitive outing came somewhat ironically against the same opponents in the Europa League just 12 days later but almost three further months would pass before he opened his scoring account when Ards were defeated on League Cup duty at Solitude on September 20, 2011 – Cliftonville’s 132nd birthday.

His maiden Premiership strike came when he put the seal on a 4-1 victory over Dungannon on October 8, while his habit of last-gasp goals continued in a memorable triumph over the Crues the following month.

Indeed, ‘Joe The Goal’ has been no stranger to the scoresheet in North Belfast Derbies, having found the net against Crusaders on no fewer than 17 occasions – the same tally he yesterday reached against Dungannon.

Next up are Ards (15), Ballinamallard United (14), Ballymena United and Portadown (both 13), with Warrenpoint Town joining Glenavon, Glentoran (all 12), Linfield, Institute (both 11) and Coleraine (10) as the sides against whom he has registered double figures.

Gormley has converted 20 penalties, with Crusaders having also shipped more of his spot-kicks (5) than any other team and are one of nine opponents he has smashed hat-tricks past – with Warrenpoint and Institute both having suffered that fate twice.

In total, Joe has racked up 39 doubles, including five against Ards, four against Crusaders and three against Linfield, Ballinamallard United and Dungannon, while his total of 138 Premiership conversions means he’s also Cliftonville’s leading scorer of League goals.

As well as 32 League Cup strikes, 15 in the Irish Cup, seven in the County Antrim Shield, five in European Play-Offs and two in the Setanta Sports Cup, Gormley has also struck twice in Europe while, last month, Knockbreda became the 30th different Club that he has found the net against since joining Cliftonville from Crumlin Star just over seven years ago.

Cliftonville FC Top 10 Goalscorers
201: Joe Gormley
170: Kevin McGarry
153: Chris Scannell
127: Sid Over
115: Norman McCaw
110: James Millar
103: George McMullan
99: John Platt
84: Liam Boyce
78: Frank Mortished

Gormley’s Goals By Opposition
17: v Crusaders (including five penalties, four doubles and one hat-trick)
17: v Dungannon Swifts (including two penalties, three doubles and one hat-trick)
15: v Ards (including five doubles)
14: v Ballinamallard United (including one penalty, three doubles and one hat-trick)
13: v Portadown (including two penalties, two doubles and one hat-trick)
13: v Ballymena United (including two penalties, two doubles and one hat-trick)
12: v Warrenpoint Town (including two hat-tricks)
12: v Glenavon (including three doubles)
12: v Glentoran
11: v Linfield (including one penalty and three doubles)
11: v Institute (including one penalty, two hat-tricks and one double)
10: v Coleraine (including one penalty and one double)
9: v Lisburn Distillery (including one hat-trick and two doubles)
7: v Carrick Rangers (including two penalties and three doubles)
6: v Bangor (three doubles)
3: v Dundela (one hat-trick)
2: v Ards Rangers (one double)
2: v Donegal Celtic
2: v H&W Welders (one double, including one penalty)
2: v Loughgall (one double)
2: v Tobermore United (one double)
1: v Banbridge Town
1: v Shamrock Rovers
1: v St Patrick’s Athletic
1: v Wakehurst (penalty)
1: v Nordsjælland (penalty)
1: v Newry City
1: v Barry Town United
1: v Moyola Park
1: v Knockbreda

Gormley’s Goals By Competition
Premiership: 138
Europa League: 2
European Play-Offs: 5
Irish Cup: 32
League Cup: 15
County Antrim Shield: 7
Setanta Sports Cup: 2
Friendlies: 41 (not included in official total)