RYAN Henderson blasted the visitors into the lead after just 40 seconds when he picked the ball up some 35 yards from goal before unleashing a tremendous half-volley beyond Ryan Brown.
They doubled their advantage on 13 minutes through Eamon McAllister after his 25-yard strike took a huge deflection off defender Ciaran Donaghy before trickling over the line.
DC's first half was soured somewhat three minutes from the break when Darren Murray was shown a straight red card by referee Colin Burns for violent conduct.
And Cliftonville made their numerical advantage tell on 57 minutes through a 25-yard Ronan Scannell effort past Robert Robinson into the top right hand corner.
The Reds then levelled with six minutes remaining courtesy of substitute Rory Donnelly's header from a Stephen Garrett corner.
But DC grabbed what proved to be winner just a couple of minutes after that from just two yards out following an error by Brown.
Cliftonville: Brown, R. Scannell, Holland, Donaghy, Caldwell, McMullan, C. Scannell, Garrett, M. Donnelly, Convery, Catney subs Smyth (not used), Seydak (not used), R. Donnelly (replaced M. Donnelly 67), Steele (replaced Catney 76), Gormley (replaced Donaghy 76)
Donegal Celtic: Robinson, Keegan, P. Bradley, O'Hara, Henderson, L. Bradley, D. Murray, McAllister, McVeigh, McNamee, M. Burns subs Atkinson (not used), Gowdy (replaced McVeigh 83), Glenholmes (not used), Fay (replaced O'Hara 90), Muir (replaced Burns 64)
- Donegal Celtic double goalscorer Ryan Henderson (Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com)