Cliftonville celebrate their victory in the Europa League Playoff final (c) Presseye / Stephen Hamilton
Saturday, 12 May 2018
Cliftonville came out on top in a thrilling Europa League Playoff final against Glentoran, landing the lucrative windfall of European prize-money.
It was the Reds who opened the scoring on 24 minutes from a partially cleared corner, when Rory Donnelly who smashed the ball through the legs Morris, despite the calls from Glentoran players for a hand ball in the build-up to the goal.
Gormley thought he had doubled the Cliftonville lead four minutes before the interval, but his effort was ruled offside. Rory Donnelly’s long range effort had deceived multiple Glentoran players to fall into the path of the league’s leading goalscorer.
The second goal eventually did come for the home side on 62 minutes with Rory Donnelly grabbing his second goal of the game. Joe Gormley was the provider of a pinpoint cross to allow Donnelly to tap home after a superb breakaway.
Ronnie McFall’s Glentoran sparked a surprising comeback with only eleven minutes to go as Robbie McDaid popped up to pull a goal back for the visitors, tapping home unmarked from six yards.
Two minutes later, the Glens were level! A penalty was awarded against Garry Breen for a foul on McDaid. Curtis Allen stepped up and placed the ball past Neeson to equalise for the East Belfast club.
With extra time now on the cards, Cliftonville rallied and found a response with five minutes left on the clock through Joe Gormley with his 34th goal of the season and after controlling Donnelly’s cross – he fired Cliftonville into next season’s Europa League.
Cliftonville: Neeson, Ives, Breen, Harney, Curran, Bagnall, Gormley, J. Donnelly, Cosgrove, McDonald, R. Donnelly subs Dunne (not used), McGovern (not used), Garrett (replaced McDonald 59), Lavery (not used), Grimes (not used)
Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Addis, Allen, McGuigan, Davidson, Kerr, Gordon, Redman, McDaid subs McMahon (replaced McGuigan 61), Kelly (replaced Gordon 72), O'Hanlon (replaced Davidson 72), Ferrin (not used), O'Neill (not used)
Referee: Keith Kennedy
|Rory Donnelly||90 +3||24|