Cliftonville cruise past Barry Town United with four-goal Europa League rout

Cliftonville celebrate at the final whistle of a 4-0 home success in the Europa League over Barry Town United. Pic by Pacemaker.
Cliftonville celebrate at the final whistle of a 4-0 home success in the Europa League over Barry Town United. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Cliftonville are on their way to Norway thanks to a stunning Europa League display at Solitude.

The Reds were simply too good for Barry Town United, winning the second leg 4-0.

After last week’s 0-0 draw in Cardiff there were understandably a few nerves around Solitude, but first-half goals from Conor McMenamin and Joe Gormley eased the tension.

Conor McDermott and Rory Donnelly put the icing on the cake with two marvellous goals in the final 10 minutes of the tie.

The 4-0 aggregate victory was enough to secure a place in the first qualifying round, where the Reds will play Norwegian side Haugesund.

The first leg will be played at Solitude next Thursday night, with the Reds set for Scandinavia on July 18.

Cliftonville enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening quarter of the game, but at times they looked vulnerable to the Barry counter-attack - with Kayne McClaggon and Jonathan Hood keeping the Reds defence on their toes.

McClaggon tried his luck from 20 yards in the 21st minute but his effort whistled wide of the goal.

The Reds’ breakthrough arrived in the 25th minute. Summer recruit Ronan Doherty’s right-flank corner found McMenamin.

The man who once scored in the Europa League for Glentoran added to his European tally with a powerful header.

A Barry defender did his best to clear the ball off the line, but the header was just too powerful.

It was thrilling moment that brought Solitude to its feet.

There was another exhilarating moment a minute before the break.

Cliftonville captain Chris Curran worked his magic on the right flank, pulling a smart ball back across the front of the box for Gormley.

Gormley made no mistake, smashing an 15-yard effort high into the middle of the net.

Perhaps Mike Lewis should have done better, but the power Gormley generated with his right boot was extraordinary.

Cliftonville made a lively start to the second half, coming within a whisker of increasing their lead in the 54th minute when Rory Donnelly unleashed a powerful 20-yard shot across goal.

Lewis, at full-stretch, got down low and turned the ball round the post.

Gormley really should have made it 3-0 minutes later, but the striker steered the ball over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Doherty was the next man to go close, in the 73rd minute.

After an extended period of pressure, his 20-yard effort inched just past the post.

The third goal arrived in the 82nd minute.

Right-back McDermott scored a wonderful individual goal, winding his way through the Barry defence before slotting the ball across Lewis and into the bottom corner.

It was 4-0 soon after as the magnificent Gormley cut in from the left flank, hitting the by-line before cutting the ball back for Donnelly.

The forward steered a shot into the net from inside the area.

It was stunning football from Cliftonville.

CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Gorman, Ives, C.Curran, Doherty, Bagnall, McMenamin (Wilson, 85), Gormley (Harney, 85), Donnelly (Maguire, 85).

Subs (not used): Dunne. Harney, Harkin, Forster, Maguire, R.Curran.

BARRY TOWN UNITED: Lewis, Morgan, Cooper, Press, Hugh, Hiscock-Greening, Green, Patton (Fry, 74), McClaggon, Hood (Snaith, 80), Cotterill (Compton, 65).

Subs (not used): Watkins, Abbruzzese, Ratcliffe, Cosslett.

Referee: Fyodor Zammitt (Malta).