Reds win League Cup on penalties

Cliftonville 0-0 Crusaders (Pens: 3-2)
Published Saturday, 25 January 2014
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Cliftonville have retained the Irish League Cup after a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Crusaders at Solitude on Saturday.

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The game was a repeat of the 2013 final which Cliftonville won comfortably, beating their great north Belfast rivals 4-0 at Windsor Park.

However the 2014 decider was a tighter affair, with neither side able to make any headway during the normal time.

After a dour 90 minutes of action the game came to life somewhat in extra time, with both sides squandering gilt-edged chances.

First Jordan Owens found himself with a clear shot at goal from the edge of the area in the 13th minute of extra time, but he sent his shot over the bar.

At the other end Liam Boyce's deflected free kick fell George McMullan inside the six yard box, but Crues stopper got down brilliantly to block the shot.

Both sides squandered further half-chances in the second period of extra time, but ultimately neither could make the breakthrough as the game went to penalties.

Crues captain Colin Coates saw his opening penalty saved by Conor Devlin, while Cliftonville McMullan missed the target with his effort.

We’re just delighted to retain the Cup and see a packed Solitude

Tommy Breslin

Gary Hamilton, Joe Gormley, Nathan Hanley and Diarmuid O'Carroll all found the net, but Devlin was again the hero for the Reds when he went low to his right to save from Jordan Owens.

Ciaran Caldwell netted the fourth penalty to give the holders the advantage, leaving Craig McClean needing to convert his effort to keep Crusaders in contention.

However, he sent his effort wide of Devlin's right-hand post to condemn his side to defeat and seal a second successive League Cup victory for Tommy Breslin's side.

Breslin said: "It was a very tight game, a game of few chances, but it's about winning and we hung in there and were fortunate enough on penalties to come out the right end."

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter meanwhile said it had been a "brutal" game to watch.

He added: "The occasion is a great spectacle but it was the worst game of football I've watched in five years... the game was brutal, very little football played, one or two chances carved out by either team, but the game itself was not very good.

"But there's no complaints from us, we lost the shootout. Congratulations to Cliftonville and things like that can go either for you or against you."

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12 Comments
Ricky Blue in Belfast wrote (84 days ago):
Solitude soul. I get what you say about the away end.Believe me its not because of a lack of interest. Untill the powers that be change the way Bluemen are treated going to Solitude things wont change. Ive a lot of friends that just refuse to go due to the problems faced getting a ticket. Linfield fans have to jump through hooops to get to Solitude. Its not Cliftonville, its Linfield F.C and the P.S.N.I. Whats the differance between the Blues and the Glens fans going. Glens fans just turn up and get in no bother. Weve to have season tickets, get a bus voucher, be vetoed by the club. meet at Ballysillan hours before kick off. Also, you only ever give us 850 tickets.We do sell them all. Give us more tickets and we will sell them. Make it pay at the gate,we will fill your ground...
Solitude Soul in White House wrote (85 days ago):
@Ricky Blue - Let's see if the so called biggest team on the isle of Ireland will be able to fill the away section at Solitude ;)
Ricky Blue in Belfast wrote (86 days ago):
Biggest team on the Island coming on Saturday guys. Be Afraid, Be very afraid......
Jim in Andytown wrote (87 days ago):
Super crues- put up a good fight at cliftonville's own home ground Solitude & on thier super bouncy pitch.
Solitude Soul in Whitehouse wrote (87 days ago):
Hopefully this is the catalyst for us to kick on and retain the title. Bring on the Bloos. Onwards and Upwards. Pride of North Belfast.
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