A strong Cliftonville Olympic team easily saw off a youthful Institute Reserves side 5-1, at a sun drenched Drumahoe on Saturday.
The Belfast men had the likes of Eamonn Seydak, David McDaid, Robert Catney, Sean McCarron and recent signing Robert Bayly all in their starting line-up; however it was striker Johnny McMurray who stole the show.
McMurray showed good strength and was a constant threat to the Stute defence all day and his super goal in the second half really just capped off a fine individual display.
For the Waterside men they showed in glimpses in the second half that they could trouble Olympic, but in truth they never really got going until after the break.
The Reds took the lead on three minutes when Johnny McMurray broke the offside trap, lobbed the ball over the out-rushing Kealan Mulcahy and while the ball hit the post the unfortunate back tracking Stephen O’Donnell could only manage to deflect the ball into his own net.
Institute went close to levelling things on 17 minutes but after showing good skill inside the box Cormac Burke’s strike on the half-volley flew just past Ryan Brown’s right hand post.
The visitors doubled their lead just after the half hour mark when McDaid played in Bayly, after the midfielder burst into the box and side footed home past Mulcahy from 12 yards.
Moments later the woodwork came to Cliftonville’s rescue when Ben Doherty’s tremendous left footed strike from 20 yards, which had Brown beaten, came back off the post.
The Drumahoe men started the second half on the front foot and some neat skill and cross from Jamie McIntyre found Darren McFadden, but his close range strike was kept out by the fortunate Brown.
A fantastic move by Stute, which started with goalkeeper Mulcahy ended with Stephen Curry’s right wing centre finding Doherty at the back post and his right foot strike from just inside the box flew past Brown.
On 56 minutes a cleverly worked free-kick routine by Stute saw Declan McKeever play the ball to Curry, who spun off the wall, but his centre across the six yard box was inches away from a sliding Cormac Burke and Conor Morgan cleared the loose ball.
That missed chance cost the home side dear and in truth summed up the difference in the two sides as Cliftonville added a third soon after.
Another ball over the top caught out Peter Bradley and the alert McCarron made no mistake drilling the ball home past Mulcahy from the edge of the box.
A quick counter attack by Cliftonville just after the hour mark resulted in their fourth goal when McMurray looked up and superbly lobbed Mulcahy from some 25 yards.
Cliftonville added a fifth thanks to Bayly after the midfielder showed good composure inside the box, before blasting home into Mulcahy’s bottom right hand corner.
Institute Reserves: Mulcahy, Young, Doherty, Bradley, O’Donnell, Ballard, Curry, McKeever, McFadden, Burke, McIntyre.
Cliftonville Olympic: Brown, Gowdy, Seydak, McAllister, Morgan, Bayly, McCarron, Catney, McDaid, McMurray, Kelly.