CLIFTONVILLE claimed an emphatic 4-0 victory over 10-man Crusaders to lift the IRN-BRU League Cup on Saturday night.
Goals from Diarmuid O’Carroll, Joe Gormley (2) and Ryan Catney helped the Reds earn a memorable North Belfast derby success at Windsor Park.
Crusaders’ misery was compounded by the sending off of Paul Heatley in the 50th minute.
Two goals in two minutes saw Cliftonville surge into a 2-0 lead by the interval.
The first arrived in the 23rd minute when O’Carroll rifled home from the right hand side of the penalty box.
It was 2-0 in the 26th minute when Gormley bundled home Barry Johnston’s low cross under pressure from Crues defender Gareth McKeown.
Crusaders’ task was heightened in the 50th minute with Heatley’s dismissal for a crude tackle from behind on George McMullan.
Referee Arnold Hunter showed no hesitation in showing a straight red card to the winger.
Cliftonville were in total control and hammered home their class with two more goals.
Gormley made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute when he raced clear before dinking his shot over the advancing Lacroix.
It was 4-0 two minutes later with Catney pouncing on a defensive lapse by Colin Coates before firing home with aplomb.
Gormley should have claimed his hat-trick in injury time but somehow missed Eamonn Seydak’s teasing cross from two yards out.
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell (Seydak 79), Johnston, McMullan, Garrett (Donnelly 78) O’Carroll (Cosgrove 66), Smyth, Catney, Gormley, Boyce.
Subs not used: Holland, Knowles.
CRUSADERS: Lacroix, McKeown, Magowan, Coates, Morrow (Rainey 60), Adamson, Robinson, Caddell (Snoddy 46), McClean, Owens, Heatley.
Subs not used: McBride, Leeman, Hyland.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)