McCONNELL BAGS THREE AS REDS HIT CANDYSTRIPES FOR SIX
Cliftonville Ladies are just one point off the pace at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with two games in hand thanks to a thumping 6-1 victory at Derry City Women.
Rachel McConnell was the star of the show for the Reds as she netted a hat-trick with Erin Montgomery grabbing two and Northern Ireland international Caitlin McGuinness adding a sixth late on.
Tara O’Connor tapped home a consolation for the Candystripes in the closing stages following a corner but it was a ninth win from ten league outings for John McGrady’s Cliftonville.
McConnell opened the scoring with a glancing header from Yasmin White’s free-kick before White again was provider to pick out Montgomery six minutes later.
Caitlin McGuinness and Marissa Callaghan squandered good chances to add to the Reds’ lead before the break, as both fired over the crossbar.
Callaghan then smacked the post after the interval with a curling effort before McConnell nabbed her second of the game on 54 minutes with White again the provider for the sliding finish.
Their fourth goal of the evening arrived just two minutes later, with Montgomery netting the second of her brace - McGuinness lifted the ball to the back post and Montgomery smashed a shot into the back of the net.
Derry had goalkeeper Clare Friel to thank for keeping the score down, as she denied Megan Weatherall and McGuinness in quick succession.
McConnell completed her hat-trick on 79 minutes, when she powered home a header from Callaghan’s left field cross.
McGuinness then completed the route, producing a superb finish, lobbing the ball over Friel, who had come off her line.
The Reds were unable to return to Belfast with a clean sheet however, as Derry scored a consolation goal with just three minutes remaining.
O’Connor arrived at the back post to tap home from a corner. It had little bearing on the final result as the Candystripes remain bottom of the standings.
Derry City Women: Friel, McMullan, Canavan, Coyle, D. Doherty, Gallagher, Connolly, Donaghey, A. Doherty, O'Connor, Callaghan subs Kelly (replaced A. Doherty 72), Devlin (replaced Donaghey 80), Carlin (not used), Cooper (not used), Harkin (replaced Connolly 85)