THEY have had their noses in front for most of the season.
Now Cliftonville have practically the Danske Bank Irish Premier League title in the silverware cabinet at Solitude alongside its IRN-BRU League Cup trophy.
On Saturday, they beat Glenavon 3-1 at Mournview Park, putting the Reds 17 points clear of second placed north Belfast rivals Crusaders.
It has been unstoppable run for the Reds who could also make it a treble if they can keep their nerve and lift the Irish Cup.
Ciaran Caldwell put the Reds into the lead shortly before half-time with a brilliant back heel from Ryan Catney’s ball in from the right.
Caldwell netted again early in the second half and Liam Boyce made it 3-0 in the 70th minute.
Glenavon striker Mark Farren pulled one back with a header.
It means Cliftonville, who have now won on their last eight visits to Mourneview Park, are on the verge of a first league championship for 15 years.
Although second-placed Crusaders could cut the gap back to 14 points by beating Linfield at Seaview on Monday night, the deficit looks insurmountable as Cliftonville have just seven matches left.
Their victory at Mourneview Park was routine enough in the end, but it came after a bright start by Glenavon during which Ciaran Martyn missed a couple of chances.
Home keeper David O’Hare did extremely well to touch a Caldwell effort just over the bar and on to the roof of the net.
But there was nothing the former Coleraine keeper could do to stop Caldwell’s sublime 41st-minute opener as he skilfully flicked in first time.
Caldwell’s second was a simple tap-in after Joe Gormley’s miscue in from a goal and then Caldwell’s pass set up Boyce who forced his way through to shoot in his 28th goal of a magnificent season.
Farren scored on 77 minutes after Cliftonville failed to clear their lines but it could not prevent a third successive league defeat for Glenavon.
DANSKE BANK IRISH PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS, SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2013
Donegal Celtic 2 -1 Lisburn Distillery
Glentoran 3 – 0 Ballinamallard
Portadown 0 – 0 Ballymena.
Dungannon Swifts 1 – 3 Coleraine
COLERAINE came from a goal down at Stangmore Park to defeat Dungannon Swifts and claim their place in the top six.
The Swifts snatched the advantage on 19 minutes when Matt Hazley fired home straight from a corner.
But Coleraine levelled a minute later through Gareth Tommons with a back post header.
Then, on 37 minutes, the Bannsiders seized the half-time lead after Stephen Lowry fired beyond Johnny Curran into the top corner.
Curtis Allen extended Coleraine’s lead eight minutes into the second half when he connected with a Ryan McIlmoyle corner to turn a header past Curran.
Stefan Lavery might have pulled one back for Dungannon a few minutes later after his shot slipped through Michael Doherty’s hands before connecting with the crossbar.
DONEGAL Celtic moved eight points clear of Lisburn Distillery in this crucial bottom of the table clash at Celtic Park.
Stephen O’Neill fired DC in front after 13 minutes when he got on the end of a Mark Miskimmin flick from a long ball forward.
Dominic Melly might have levelled for the Whites just after the half-hour mark with a first time effort which forced John Connolly into a diving save to his left.
That was how it stayed until the 67th minute. Sean Cleary doubled Celtic’s lead when he curled the ball past Lee Windrum off both posts before nestling in the back of the net.
However, the Whites pulled a goal back two minutes later after Johnny Harkness finished from close range.
GOALS from Richard Clarke, Martin Murray and Andrew Waterworth helped Glentoran to a comfortable victory over Ballinamallard United at The Oval.
The Glens started brightly with Jim O’Hanlon firing wide while Murray and Sean Ward also created openings.
And Eddie Patterson’s side were duly rewarded on 33 minutes when, from a poor Alvin Rouse clearance, Clarke sent a wonderfully balanced lob over the United ‘keeper.
Ballinamallard might have levelled early in the second half when Jason McCartney was denied by Elliott Morris before hitting the post on 49 minutes.
But the Glens doubled their lead three minutes after that through Murray who converted a Waterworth cross from the right.
Waterworth got on the scoresheet himself on 77 minutes after he travelled with the ball down the right before bringing it into the box and beating Rouse from the tightest of angles.