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Pride and Joey

Paddy McLaughlin hailed Joe Gormley’s “phenomenal” record after the striker marked his 350th Cliftonville appearance with two goals in yesterday’s 3-1 victory over Dungannon Swifts.

Gormley’s strikes either side of the interval helped the Reds hit back from 1-0 down before Ryan Curran, sealed all three Danske Bank Premiership points with an injury-time clincher at Stangmore Park, where McLaughlin admitted his team were pushed all the way.

“A phenomenal player with a phenomenal goalscoring record,” was his summary of Gormley’s contribution.

“He’s a legend of the Club and there’s still many years left in the tank yet for him, so he’ll go and smash records and set records that nobody will ever catch. He’s been a fantastic player for me in my time here, he’s been a fantastic player down the years for every other Manager and he keeps doing the business time and time again.”

Cliftonville got off to a sticky start when Oisin Smyth stroked Dungannon into a 15th minute lead from the penalty spot, but the Manager was pleased that his players didn’t panic as they sought a route back into the contest.

“It was everything that we thought it was going to be – a really tough game against a brilliant footballing team, ” he added.

“Dean Shiels encourages them to get the ball down and play the right way. Thankfully, our boys were strong in possession and out of possession and worked hard to get the job done.

“In the first-half, we were probably slow out of the blocks and a bit sluggish on it. They broke one or two times on us with their pace up top and they do keep the ball really well but I think we always had that goal threat when we had the ball in the final third of the pitch.”