Preview: Europa League Play-off Semifinal

Monday night’s play-off semi-final against Cliftonville at Solitude (kick off 7:45pm) is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far for Glenavon. Following the disappointment of losing to Coleraine in the Irish Cup semi-final, it’s a chance to make the final next Friday night, against either Ballymena Utd. or Dungannon Swifts, with a vital place in next season’s Europa League at stake.

“The fans have a massive role to play on Monday night,” Gary Hamilton feels. “It’s a semi-final and you want as much support there as possible, you want the fans to be positive and back the boys as they have done all year. This season, so far, we’ve let the fans down a little bit but, on Monday night, we want to try our best to make them happy and get them into the final. Our aim at the start of these is to achieve European qualification and hopefully, with their backing and their support like they gave us in the semifinals and finals of the two Irish cup wins and the game against Portadown when Andy McGrory scored the penalty to clinch European qualification, their support that day was magnificent, the boys will buzz off that and hopefully get them a result.”

Aaron Canning has back problems that are exacerbated by playing on plastic pitches so he’s not likely to feature on Monday.  In better news, Caolan Marron, who limped off with an ankle injury in the final league game at Seaview, has managed to train on Thursday night and Saturday morning. “Guy Bates hasn’t been able to play or train since he hurt his knee against Cliftonville in the league game so he could be a doubt and Chris Turner probably won’t make this game but there’s an outside chance he could be fit for the final if we were to make that but he looks a major doubt for both games. The rest of the players should be all available with a bit of luck,” Gary told us. “It was important to get the game on Tuesday night to get boys games who hadn’t had games for a while and we had good training sessions on Thursday night and Saturday morning and hopefully we can bring that into the game on Monday night and get a positive result.”

“It’s a semi-final on Monday night and whoever turns up, whoever is braver, will win the game. We’ve let ourselves down in two semi-finals this season and we don’t want to let ourselves down in the third one.”

No tickets are required so let’s see a huge Glenavon support at Solitude on Monday night to get behind the team and cheer them on to victory. #GHBAWA

PSNI Advice for Monday’s Play-off Match

1. Glenavon Fans travelling by private car to Cliftonville Football Club for the Danske Bank Premier League 1945 hours kick-off on Monday 8 May 2017 are requested to park in the residential areas above Solitude off the Cliftonville Road- i.e. Cardigan Drive and Knutsford Drive etc. etc. Motorists should consider local resident and emergency vehicle access when deciding where and how to park.

Glenavon fans parking in the residential areas around Knutsford and Cardigan are requested to approach and leave the area via the Westland Road and avoid travelling city wards on the Cliftonville Road after the match to avoid traffic congestion.

2. Those travelling by Bus/ Coach should be at Fortwilliam Roundabout / M2 by 1915 hours at the latest.

Police will meet the buses at the top of the off-slip road at Fortwilliam and advise Drivers/Clubs re arrangements for both moving to Solitude and then away from the ground at the end of the match.

3. Police are reminding fans that there are specific offences created by the Criminal Justice Act NI 2011 in relation to soccer matches:

Possession of Fireworks/ Flares etc.
Throwing Articles capable of causing injury
Going on to the Playing area
Sectarian Chanting
Drinking on Passenger Carrying Vehicles

4. In addition all fans are reminded that the areas around the Stadium are “No Street Drinking” zones under Belfast City Council By-Laws. Any Street drinking taking place will be dealt with and any alcohol found seized.

5. Any public indecency offences such as urinating in public will be robustly dealt with.

6. Maximum Use of CCTV/ Landrover Roof Top and Hand Held Evidence Gathering will be made both inside and outside the Stadium as part of the Police Criminal Justice Strategy in an effort to deal with any offences which come to light.

Police will take all steps to identify and deal with anyone who has been or is committing offences.

7. It is vitally important for supporter and community safety that these instructions are complied with and that the impact of the event on the local residential and business communities is minimised.