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Saturday Stepback: 2016

Though the 2019/20 season was scheduled to have concluded by now, we are nevertheless continuing to fill the void left by Cliftonville-free Saturdays with the latest chapter of our weekly series transporting us back to a game played on this day in yesteryear.

Thanks to the help of the Club’s Heritage Development Officer, Paul Treanor, every Saturday during football’s downtime, will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary reports – with today’s spotlight falling on a friendly with Larne in 2016.

Staged in preparation for the second leg of the Reds’ Europa League encounter with Differdange, the game saw the hosts take early control of proceedings at Solitude.


Davy McDaid netted two first-half goals as Cliftonville limbered up for Thursday night’s return Europa League clash against Differdange with a 4-0 defeat of Larne at a sodden Solitude.

Boss Gerard Lyttle made wholesale changes from the side which started in Luxembourg last week, with only McDaid and fellow goalscorer Darren Murray – who both emerged from the bench at Stade Muncipial de la Ville – having any active involvement in both fixtures.

With both players having contributed to the Reds claiming a 3-0 lead at the interval, it was left to Martin Murray to complete the scoring with just over 15 minutes left on the clock.

The deadlock was broken early on when McDaid raced through to confidently dink the ball over Gerard Walker but the Cliftonville Olympic keeper, guesting for our visitors, made a series of fine stops before Darren Murray’s powerful blast doubled the Reds’ advantage.

Shortly afterwards, McDaid found the net with a pinpoint drive into the bottom corner, with Larne unfortunate not to reduce the arrears early in the second period when, having evaded the grasp of Peter Burke, former Solitude youngster John Donnelly saw his attempt cleared off the line by Aaron Donnelly.

Martin Murray, Stephen Garrett and Darren Murray all threatened to add a fourth for the hosts and, with a plethora of up-and-coming talents having been introduced to proceedings, the scoring was completed with an intricate passing sequence capped by Martin Murray’s close-range conversion.

Cliftonville: Burke, G Donnelly, A Donnelly, McGovern, Ramsey, Trialist, McDaid, Garrett, M Murray, D Murray, Cosgrove. Subs: Lawlor (Cosgrove), Reynolds (McGovern), McNicholl (McDaid), Tully (D Murray), Doran (Garrett).