The 2016/17 season gets underway this Saturday when Mourneview Park sees League Champions Crusaders take on Irish Cup winners Glenavon in the curtain-raising Charity Shield.Hospice

The game will once again benefit the Northern Ireland Hospice, supporting its world class palliative care services as well as staff, patients and their families.

For Glenavon Manager Gary Hamilton the result in tomorrow’s game isn’t the main thing. “It’s all about people coming out and raising money for a very worthwhile charity. One never knows if at some stage in our lives we or a family member will be in need of the type of care the hospice provides. It’s a very worthwhile cause to support and I hope as many people as possible turn out tomorrow no matter which team they support.”

As for the game itself Gary says “Players want to win every game they play, should it be a pre-season friendly or a competitive league match and that’s the mentality that’s bred into them. My main concern is getting them another 90 minutes under their belts and coming though the game unscathed and ready for next week’s league game against Carrick Rangers.”

Gary confirmed that Pat McCourt will play at least 45 minutes of the game as he continues to build up his match fitness. “Paddy hasn’t played football in over 3 months and he hasn’t trained much in that time as, naturally, he’s been focussed on helping his wife through her treatment so it’s going to be a while before he’s back to full match fitness again.”

Pat McCourt made his Glenavon debut against Banbridge Town. Photo by Alan Weir

Pat McCourt made his Glenavon debut against Banbridge Town. Photo by Alan Weir

Admission charges to the game have been fixed at £8 Adult, £5 Seniors and 12-16 year olds. Under 12s will be admitted free. Glenavon season ticket holders are asked to note that their tickets are not valid for this game.

Please note that access to the car park will not be permitted after 2.30 pm.

The Charity Shield kicks-off at 3.00pm and if it ends all-square after 90 minutes it will go straight to penalties – there will be no extra time.