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Caitlin’s three spirit

Cliftonville Ladies 3-1 Sion Swifts Ladies

Caitlin McGuinness was Cliftonville Ladies’ hat-trick hero in this evening’s Women’s Premiership League Cup Final victory over Sion Swifts Ladies.

After opening the scoring with an instinctive early finish, McGuinness’ looping header doubled the Reds’ advantage with 17 minutes on the clock at Stangmore Park.

A fine save from Rachael Norney maintained the two-goal advantage at the break but, after Kirsty McGuinness had seen an attempt come back off the post, the Swifts reduced the arrears when Kerry Brown’s free-kick was too hot for Norney to handle.

Cliftonville weathered the storm that followed, however, and were desperately unfortunate not to move 3-1 ahead when a wonderful strike from Marissa Callaghan cracked the crossbar.

McGuinness made no mistakes soon later, though, when her low drive found the back of the net to set up a slightly more comfortable finale for the Reds, who threatened through Callaghan and Danielle Maxwell before the final blast of the referee’s whistle ensured the trophy was headed for Solitude.