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Boss salutes five-star show

Paddy McLaughlin says Cliftonville’s temperament was spot-on in last night’s Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup clash with Dundela.

The Reds booked their place in today’s sixth round draw with a 5-0 victory that came courtesy of a hat-trick for Ronan Hale and strikes from Sean Moore and Joe Gormley, with McLaughlin declaring himself more than satisfied with the performance amid the threat of a Cup upset at the hands of the Championship high-fliers.

“I’m delighted, it’s important we got ourselves into the hat for the next round,” he said.

“We know how difficult it is to come here. They’ve lost a couple of players recently but signed well, adding some good Premiership experience, so we knew it was going to be difficult but I can’t give the boys enough credit for their attitude and efficiency.

“Our players’ temperament was tested but they passed it with flying colours and it was key that we didn’t go into the game with the wrong attitude because there was massive potential in a banana skin here. That’s why the cameras were here but fair play to our boys because their attitude and performance was excellent.

“It was a ruthless performance from our frontmen – Ronan’s got his hat-trick; Joe scored; Sean Moore was excellent in scoring and setting up a couple. Our defenders also did well, keeping a clean sheet on a tight, narrow pitch so at both ends of the pitch, we were very good.”

The only down side from a Cliftonville perspective was the enforced withdrawal of defender Levi Ives at half-time, however McLaughlin is hopeful the 25-year-old won’t suffer any lingering effects.

“He just picked up a knock in the first-half,” he explained.

“He’s played his first game in months agains Larne on Monday. With the intensity of that, his body was probably a bit sore and stiff coming into the game but he’s picked up a knock stretching for a tackle, so we need to be careful with him over the next couple of days. Hopefully it’s nothing too bad.

“Everyone else seemed to come through okay but we’ve just a slight concern with Levi after him being out for so long.”