Setanta Cup - Getting to know Cliftonville
A Brief History
Cliftonville were formed in 1879 making them the oldest club in Ireland and became one of the inaugural members of the Irish Football League in 1890.
In the same year the club took up residency at Solitude going on to share the League title with Distillery in 1906 and then won it outright for the first time in 1910. The club had to wait until 1979 for further honours when they won the Irish Cup and endured a further wait before they claimed the League title for only the third time in 1998.
League Championships 3, Irish Cup 8, League Cup 1
The season so far
It’s been a phenomenal first half of the season as Tommy Breslin’s men sit proudly atop the Danske Irish Premiership after 28 games with a healthy twelve point advantage. They are also leading scorers with 74, a full twenty more than second best Linfield. They also have the best defensive record with only 26 conceded.
Setanta Cup History
Cliftonville did not qualify for the tournament until 2008 when they were knocked out in the group stage. They exited at the same stage the following year but went as far as the semi-finals in the 2011 season where they went out to Dundalk. Last year they reached the quarter finals when they were knocked out on penalties by Shamrock Rovers.
Tommy Breslin. The former Reds player was appointed assistant manager to Eddie Patterson in 2005 and took over the managerial position at the end of the 2011 season. His debut campaign ended with the securing of a European place and victory in the County Antrim Shield Final. His first full season in charge saw the team finish in third position in the league.
Known to favour an attacking 4-4-2 formation with two wingers supplying the prolific striking duo of Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley that has the club in pole position to win their first title since 1998.
One to Watch
Liam Boyce: A calm finisher in the box Boyce, who has spent some time with Werder Bremen, is equally effective when dropping deep or deployed in midfield. Likely to move abroad in the near future.
Special mention: James Knowles, young midfielder with a great future