Glenavon travels to The Oval tomorrow to take on the current Irish Cup holders Glentoran in one of three all-Premiership 6th Round ties.
It’s been a very sad week for Irish football in general and Derry City and Glenavon FC in particular with the death of our former player Mark Farren who was buried today near his home in Donegal.
Mark proudly led Glenavon out on the Club’s last appearance in the Irish Cup Final in May 2014 when the Lurgan Blues triumphed 2-1 against Ballymena United. As a mark of respect for Mark we hope all fans at the Oval tomorrow will join in a minute’s applause in the 10th minute of the game, 10 being Mark’s shirt number during his time as a Glenavon player. RIP Mark Farren.
“We have our Irish Cup tie on Saturday and we will all be recalling the last time Mark was involved in a Glenavon game, it was the Irish Cup final in 2014. He led the team out onto the pitch and was such a huge motivating factor for our squad. He would have given anything to have been playing that day and I know his presence played a major part in our success,” Gary Hamilton told the Lurgan Mail this week.
Andy Hall is available for selection again after serving his suspension on Tuesday night and the excellent performance in beating Carrick Rangers 5-1 on a very poor pitch will give the Glenavon boss and his backroom staff plenty to think about as he ponders his team selection for tomorrow’s cup tie.
Jay Magee is suspended for the Glens and goalkeeper Elliott Morris faces a late fitness test on a back problem.
The last time the sides met, in the league back at the end of November, Alan Kernaghan’s side triumphed 2-0 but since then the Glens have lost 5 out of the next 7 league games. The Glens boss admits that the Irish Cup is his only realistic chance of a trophy this season. “It’s a big game, there is no question about that,” he told the News Letter.
“We still have a lot to play for in terms of the rest of the league campaign but, the reality is, the cup is now our only hope of winning a trophy.”
But he’s also very aware that the Lurgan Blues pose a formidable threat to any hopes of a successful cup defence. “I had the chance to watch Glenavon’s midweek win over Carrick Rangers. They won with plenty to spare. They have a great squad of players so we’ll have our work cut out.”
“It’s a big game for both clubs ” Gary Hamilton told the Lurgan Mail. “For Glentoran it looks like their best hope of Europe and no matter what their form has been in recent weeks we know it will still be a tough tie.
“They are one of the three teams we have not beaten this season and on our last visit to The Oval we can have no complaints as they beat us fair and square.
“We want to get into the next round and go as far as possible. While we had a good team which won the cup, I feel now we have greater strength in depth.”