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Stake out

Caitlin McGuinness says the “higher stakes” of knockout football demands full focus as Cliftonville prepare for tonight’s Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup clash with Ballymena United Women.

The Reds, who already have the County Antrim Cup in the trophy cabinet this term, take a break from the defence of their Sports Direct Women’s Premiership title when they travel to The Showgrounds for a quarter-final clash that McGuinness insists she and her team-mates are as determined as ever to win.

“With the higher stakes, there’s no margin for error,” explains the 20-year-old.

“A single loss can remove you from the competition, so there’s more pressure to perform well. Winning the County Antrim Cup gave us our first taste of silverware this season and it has made us hungry to win more.”

McGuinness, the reigning Ulster Women’s Footballer of the Year, scored four times when the Reds last faced Ballymena and makes no bones about her ambitions for the rest of the campaign.

“I want to continue to perform at a high level, consistently find the back of the net and finish as the League’s top goal scorer,” she adds.

“I want to contribute to the team as much as possible, whether it’s through scoring, assisting or creating goal scoring opportunities for my team-mates.”

Ballymena United Women v Cliftonville Ladies (7.30pm)
Adults: £4
Concessions: £1