REDS FIND SION A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK
Cliftonville were four-goal winners at Sion Swifts but they had to wait until the hour mark to open their account against a resolute home side.
Kirsty McGuinness broke the deadlock in the 60th minute after resolute defending from the home side in a challenging first game for the title hopefuls.
That was the first of three Reds goals in nine minutes as Marissa Callaghan scored from the penalty spot, Kirsty’s sister Caitlin added a stunning third and with 11 minutes remaining, Callaghan bagged her second and the team’s fourth.
The hosts had kept the game goalless at halftime with a disciplined and determined performance as Cliftonville piled on the pressure which saw debutant Sion keeper, Jennifer Currie, make a handful of saves to keep the Swifts in the game.
Shots from the McGuinness sisters and Callaghan in the first half found the goalkeeper Currie in good form, as midfielders Zoe McGlynn and Aimee Durn had a few wide attempts for the home side.
The deadlock was finally broken an hour into the game as Cliftonville started the second half on the front foot and once again pressed the hosts, with Kirsty McGuinness finishing well from a tight angle.
A few minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead from the penalty spot after Abbie Magee was brought down in the box and Callaghan converted the penalty.
Late in the second half, Caitlin McGuinness grabbed a third with an excellent top corner finish before Callaghan doubled her tally for the night as she had a tap in at the back post in the eightieth minute.
Sion Swifts Ladies: Currie, Neal, Donnan, Walsh, McCarter, Durn, Crompton, McGlynn, Chambers, McLaughlin, Doherty subs Harris (not used), Smallwoods (replaced Crompton 81), Long (not used), Connor (replaced Walsh 65), Quigg (not used), O'Neill (replaced Chambers 81)
Cliftonville Ladies: Welsh, Burrows, Morgan, Finnegan, Maxwell, McDaniel, C. McGuinness, K. McGuinness, McKimm, Callaghan, Magee subs Norney (not used), White (replaced K. McGuinness 73), Moran (replaced Finnegan 75), Montgomery (replaced Callaghan 84), Reilly (not used), McHenry (replaced C. McGuinness 84), Mailey (not used)