Cliftonville’s incredible comeback in last night’s County Antrim Shield Final was indicative of the never-say-die attitude that Manager Paddy McLaughlin has instilled in the team, says Conor McDermott.
Trailing to Leroy Millar’s strike early in the second-half, the Reds stunned Ballymena United when Thomas Maguire and Ryan Curran pounced in the depths of injury-time to seal a barely believable turnaround at Windsor Park – where McDermott was thrilled to be front and centre of the celebrations.
“You can never give up and, when there’s still time left on the clock, you can always come back and you have to have the belief that you can do that,” says the 22-year-old, whose surging run down the left flank was the catalyst to Maguire’s 96th minute equaliser.
“That’s what the Manager always tells us and has drilled into us. We know we maybe didn’t perform as well as we can but we couldn’t just give it up and had to keep going.”
McDermott, who started the contest in his familiar right-back role before switching to the centre of defence for the second-half, believes the success justifies his choice to turn his loan move from Derry City into a permanent one earlier this month.
“Coming up to Christmas, I knew I had a decision to make,” he adds.
“I’d loved being at Cliftonville from the very first minute and knowing we had the County Antrim Shield Final coming up was a big draw for me, plus the fact we’ve been going well in the League and had the Irish Cup to come just sort of told me I couldn’t walk away from this.
“I’ve felt the warmth of the people here from the very start and I loved the thought of winning trophies with the Club. It’s great to get the first one but hopefully there’s plenty more to come.”