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Decadent: The Players

When Mark McKee stepped onto the pitch for Cliftonville’s 4-0 victory over Warrenpoint Town at Solitude last month, he became the 125th different player to start a match for Cliftonville this decade.

Continuing our mini-series of reflections on the Reds’ record between 2010-2019, today reflects on the statistics behind the teamsheets – with just three players having broken through the 300 appearance barrier during the period in question.

Stephen Garrett leads the way with 358 outings, while Joe Gormley’s appearance against Larne on Saturday brought him up to 312, nine ahead of Ryan Catney on 303.

Martin Donnelly – who was part of the Larne side the Reds faced at the weekend – is next in line with 278 appearances following his move from North Belfast Derby rivals Crusaders in the summer of 2011, while Inver Park team-mate Tomas Cosgrove is eighth on the chart with 214, sandwiched between George McMullan (239) and Ronan Scannell (186).

Larne goalkeeper Conor Devlin, meanwhile, made the most appearances (148) of the 11 shot-stoppers utilised by the Reds over the last 10 years in a list that does not include outfield stand-ins such as Eamonn Seydak and Jamie Harney – much to the duo’s likely relief.

The decade’s only goalscoring keeper, John Connolly, is next up with 116, while current custodian Richard Brush is in third place on 63 and back-up keeper Declan Dunne on three.

At the other end of the park, Cliftonville have scored a total of 1008 goals, with no prizes for guessing that record-breaking Gormley (pictured) leads the way with 206 – an incredible 20.44%.

Indeed, he is one of 60 players to have found the net for the Reds during the past 10 years, with Liam Boyce (73), Jay Donnelly (71), Ruaidhri Donnelly (67) and Garrett [65] rounding off the top five.

On the same theme, Cliftonville have benefited from 27 own goals (compared to 12 given away) and have been awarded a total of 107 penalties – netting 81 at a conversion rate of 75.7%.

It will come as little surprise to learn that Donnelly is the most frequent surname to have appeared in a Reds line-up – with Aaron and Gary contributing to the sequence started by Ruaidhri, Martin and Jay some years prior – while the most common first names have been Conor and Ryan (both 6), just ahead of the five Marks, who would have tied for first but for the strict decree that rules Marc Smyth as a lone entrant!

Our reflections of the decade conclude tomorrow, with the final day of 2019 dedicated to the Managers and trophies that have shaped the last 10 years at Solitude.

Top 10 Appearances
Stephen Garrett (358)
Joe Gormley (312)
Ryan Catney (303)
Martin Donnelly (278)
Jaimie McGovern (272)
Chris Curran (264)
George McMullan (239)
Tomas Cosgrove (214)
Ronan Scannell (186)
Jay Donnelly (181)

Conor Devlin (148 appearances)
John Connolly (116, 1 goal)
Richard Brush (63)
Brian Neeson (56)
Peter Burke (52)
Ryan Brown (51)
Jason Mooney (19)
Peter Cherrie (15)
Jack Duffin (11)
Brett Long (9)
Declan Dunne (3)

Top 10 Goalscorers
Joe Gormley (206)
Liam Boyce (73)
Jay Donnelly (71)
Ruaidhri Donnelly (67)
Stephen Garrett (65)
George McMullan (52)
Davy McDaid (51)
Martin Donnelly (35)
Chris Curran (30)
Ciaran Caldwell (23)

Own Goals
For: 27
Against: 12

Scored: 81
Missed: 26

Most popular surname
Donnelly (5)
Ruaidhri, Martin, Jay, Aaron and Gary

Most popular first names
Conor (6)
Devlin, McMenamin, McDonald, McDermott, Downey and Morgan
Ryan (6)
Catney, Curran, Brown, Dunlop, Burns and McCluskey