Glenavon made a bright start to the game with several chances inside the opening 10 minutes being denied by a combination of brave defending and good goal-keeping. Joel Cooper had the best of those chances after Ciaran Martyn blocked an attempted clearance and the ball fell to the Glenavon winger on the edge of the box but Gareth Buchanan pulled off a superb save to deny Glenavon the opener from Cooper’s left foot shot.

Joel Cooper gets an early shot on target. Photo by Brian Bain

Joel Cooper gets an early shot on target. Photo by Brian Bain

Fabio O’Brien put Glenavon ahead four minutes from the interval when he stabbed in from close range after Gareth Buchanan palmed a header by Kris Lindsay onto the bar. The build up involved persistence from Cooper and a cross from the left by Andy Hall that Lindsay looped goal-wards.

Fabio puts Glenavon ahead with this close-range finish. Photo by Alan Weir.

Fabio puts Glenavon ahead with this close-range finish. Photo by Alan Weir.

Photo by Alan Weir

Photo by Alan Weir

Skipper Ciaran Martyn went close in the final minute of the first half when his shot cannoned off the post before being hacked clear.

The Villagers were reduced to ten men in the 51st minute when Richard Copeland hauled down O’Brien, the Loughgall centre half injuring himself in the process. The referee adjudged the foul┬áto have been right on the edge of the penalty box though first impressions were it may have been just inside.

Just after the hour mark Martyn had the ball in the net after Buchanan spilled a shot from Kevin Braniff but his effort was ruled out by the offside flag.

Andy McGrory made it 2-0 from the spot in the 66th minute after he himself was tripped by Mark Carson as he cut across the penalty area.

Andy McGrory's penalty sends Gareth Buchanan the wrong way. Photo by Alan Weir.

Andy McGrory’s penalty sends Gareth Buchanan the wrong way. Photo by Alan Weir.

Andy McGrory scores from the penalty spot. Photo by Brian Bain

Andy McGrory scores from the penalty spot. Photo by Brian Bain

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Photo by Brian Bain

A minute later Stuart Mallen pulled a goal back from 8 yards but it did seem the referee missed a clear handball by the Villagers winger as he controlled Daniel Ryan’s pass before slotting a shot past Johnny Tuffey.

Hardly a vintage performance from Glenavon but credit to Loughgall who battled throughout even when down to ten men. The win sees Glenavon through to a Windsor Park semifinal against Crusaders with Lurgan Celtic facing Linfield in the other semi final after Colin Malone’s side knocked Portadown out with a 3-2 win at Shamrock Park.

Teams:

Glenavon: Tuffey, McGrory, Dillon, Lindsay, Marshall, Hall, Sykes, Martyn (c), Cooper, Braniff, O’Brien. Subs: Kilmartin (Cooper 85), Patton, Hamilton (Braniff 72), Elebert, Burns.

Cautions: Hall 29, Sykes 74

Loughgall: Buchanan, Carson, Taylor, Copeland, Hudson, Henderson, Dallas, Ferguson (c), Mullen, Ryan, Mallen. Subs: Dane, Tavares (Mallen 90+1), Stretton, O’Connor, Robinson.

Cautions: Copeland s/o 51, Taylor 65

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)