Monday nights game against Cliftonville was similar to the Drogheda game as Cliftonville came and played 4-5-1 as they attempted to curtail our attacking threat. It was a much changed Rovers team with 7 changes to Friday nights line up and it really showed our strength in depth.
Billy Dennehy, who scored the final goal in last years competition, got the ball rolling after he converted Gary McCabes superb low cross at the back post. In truth the Cliftonville defender should have cleared it out for a corner but he was unaware that Dennehy was behind him and Billy finished well. Chris Turner and Aaron Greene missed great chances to extend the lead before Colin Hawkins eventually gave us a two goal cushion when he headed home from a Gary McCabe corner.
At 2-0 you would have taught that we would go on and win comfortably but we tired at the back and as Cliftonville pushed 2 up front in search of the away goal they had 3 great chances to score and we were slightly fortunate to keep a clean sheet. The main thing is that we did keep a clean sheet and we are now in the driving seat to progress to the semi-final. Decent performances on the night from Hawkins, Turner and Greene.
There was a reasonable crowd of over around 1,500 and a decent travelling support but the fans still haven't taken to this competition and if all four Airtricty League teams prevail over the Irish League teams in the quarter finals then it is hard to see a future for the competition as the gap between the standard in North and South gets greater every year.