On Saturday Glenavon faces Larne at Mourneview Park (5-30 pm) in this weekend’s BBC live streamed fixture.

It will be new Blues’ boss Stephen McDonnell’s first match in charge. He is looking forward to the game. “It has been a busy but exciting week,” he said, speaking on Friday morning. “We observed the lads training on Monday and took our first session last night. It will be good to see how they get on in a competitive match.”

McDonnell was born in Dundalk. He spent two seasons with Glasgow Celtic as a teenager before returning to Ireland to play for Dublin club, Shelbourne. He left Tolka Park to move to Warrenpoint Town and had been there for less than a month when he was diagnosed with a cardiac problem. Forced to retire at 22 years, Stephen resolved to remain in the game. He subsequently returned to Warrenpoint as manager. Latterly, he had been Under-19s coach at Shelbourne.

My heart complaint has stopped me playing high level sport, but I am still able to train, etc.,” he explained. “Thankfully, I have no day-to-day problems.”

Although he has been in post for less than a week, Stephen has already formed a positive impression of Glenavon. “It seems to be a really good, community football club,” he continued. “Everyone I have met has been very helpful and friendly. That applies to coaching staff, directors and volunteers. I have visited Mourneview Park many times over the years. It is a fabulous, modern stadium with an excellent pitch. No one could fail to be impressed with the facilities.”

McDonnell is hoping for a good start against Larne. “Obviously, they are league champions and have made a good start to the season, but as Loughgall showed this week they are not unbeatable,” he said. “I would love us to win. That goes without saying. But if it doesn’t happen, I would like a positive performance. That would encourage both the players and the new staff.

Stephen will ask the team to play what he calls “progressive” football. “That can mean many things,” he added. “We want to be pleasing on the eye but also be capable of adapting from week to week as we face different opponents with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. It will take a while for the lads to adjust to what might be fresh methods and ideas. But, hopefully, over time, there will be an improvement in performances and results and Glenavon begins to climb the table.”

McDonnell reported that Conor McCloskey has trained twice this week and should be available. Calum Birney, who returned to the side last Saturday after injury, is also fit. Rory Brown’s red card was successfully appealed, so is available for selection. However, Jamie McDonagh is out due to suspension.


Match: Moira Equestrian Centre in Memory of Paddy Allen
Ball: Paul Mitchell
MoM: Jonathan Burns

Glenavon v Larne, Last Season




Glenavon 1 Larne 2


Glenavon 0 Larne 1


Larne 3 Glenavon 0

Other Glenavon teams in action this weekend:

(Free Admission to all games)

  • Monday 2nd October 2023 Glenavon Reserves v Crusaders Reserves, Mourneview Park, 1945 k.o.
  • Friday 29th September 2023 – Larne U-18s v Glenavon U-18s, Harry Cavan Youth Cup, Larne Academy of Sport, 1945 k.o.
  • Saturday 30th September 2023 – Larne U-16s v Glenavon U-16s, Inver Park, 1030 k.o.
  • Saturday 30th September 2023 – Rosario U-15s vGlenavon U-15s, Ulidia Playing Fields, 3G, Belfast, 1100k.o.
  • Saturday 30th September 2023 Glenavon U-14s, Linfield U-14s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1115 k.o.
  • Saturday 30th September 2023 – Glenavon U-13s v Crusaders U-13s, Crumlin Leisure Centre 3G, Pitch 3,0930 k.o.