County Antrim Shield

Cliftonville 9–0 Knockbreda 

CLIFTONVILLE eased into the last eight of the Toal’s County Antrim Shield after a 9-0 win over Knockbreda at Solitude on Tuesday evening. 

Paul O’Neill grabbed a hat-trick on his first start of the campaign and braces from Colin Coates and Conor Scannell were added to by Aaron Donnelly and Daniel Kearns in a straightforward evening for the Reds. 

McLaughlin promised rotation and for the second Tuesday night in succession made eight changes. The only survivors from the weekend victory over Dungannon were Kris Lowe, Ronan Doherty, and Luke Turner. 

The hosts attempted to seize immediate control, but Conor Scannell scooped an early chance over the bar and on 10 minutes Paul O’Neill fizzed a low ball across which Ross McCaughan almost turned into his own net. Fortunately for the defender it went behind for a corner. 

From the set-piece, the opener arrived as Aaron Donnelly’s pinpoint delivery was headed home by Colin Coates for his first Cliftonville goal. 

After a bit of a lull in play, Seanan Foster had a low drive spilt by Knockbreda goalkeeper Jonah Magill who eventually gathered at the third time of asking. 

Paul O’Neill then threaded the ball through to Ronan Doherty whose side-footed effort was straight at Magill. 

On the half hour mark, Foster cut the ball back for Paul O’Neill, but the striker blazed his effort high over the bar. 

A minute later, goal number two arrived when Kris Lowe chested the ball down and youngster Conor Scannell fired home for his first senior goal for the club. 

Colin Coates headed home twice for the Reds

Colin Coates headed home twice for the Reds

Minutes later, Paul O’Neill bent a shot inches past the post before the third goal arrived in the run-up to half-time. 

Seanan Foster crossed to Scannell whose volley was turned behind by Magill and from the resulting corner, Colin Coates was primed and headed home his second of the evening. 

On the stroke of half-time, goal number four arrived. Ronan Doherty saw his low effort come off the post, the follow-up from Daniel Kearns was scrambled off the line and at the third time of asking Paul O’Neill tapped home to make it 4-0 at the interval. 

Cliftonville picked up where they left off after the break as Kris Lowe scooped one into the side netting, but number five arrived a few minutes later courtesy of a Paul O’Neill header over Jonah Magill. 

O’Neill secured the match ball with a third after the hour mark when Conor Scannell provided a low cross and O’Neill poked home from close range. 

A few minutes later, the magnificent seven was provided by Aaron Donnelly who drove a further effort over the bar a few minutes later. 

Daniel Kearns got in on the act with 20 minutes remaining, rifling high into the net from Scannell’s assist and the rout was complete on minute 90 with the duo reversing roles. This time it was Kearns with a low cross that Scannell poked home to complete a routine evening for Paddy McLaughlin’s side. 

CLIFTONVILLE: McNicholas, Turner, Coates , Casey, Donnelly, Foster, Lowe, Doherty (C Curran 57), Kearns, Scannell, O’Neill. 

KNOCKBREDA: Magill, McCaughan, Rice (McDermott 53), Gilmour (Garrett 53), Devine, Harrison, Jackson, Curran, Whiteway, Long (Rea 71), McGreevy. 

REFEREE: Tony Clarke