On Friday 8th December 2023 Glenavon faces Larne at Inver Park. The Invermen boast the longest unbeaten home record in the Sports Direct Premiership. The Lurgan Blues have not beaten them since Kenny Bruce’s much publicised takeover.

Larne are the league champions and probably have the biggest budget,” said Stephen McDonnell. “It will be an extremely difficult game. We know that. But we go there with confidence because we are playing exceptionally well.”

Glenavon has won seven and drawn one of its last nine matches in all competitions. The transformation since the 3-1 defeat against Glentoran on 21st October 2023 has been nothing short of remarkable.

“All the credit goes to the players,” Stephen continued. “They have been brilliant. We have changed some things and so far, it has worked very well. But no one is getting carried away.”

The team’s magnificent performance in the 3-2 victory against Coleraine at the Showgrounds in the BetMcLeanLeague Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night demonstrated the progress which has been made.

“The lads played extremely well,” McDonnell added. “People said that we went there with a makeshift defence, but there was nothing makeshift about the people in it. We have a lot of very good players. That applies throughout the team. Two months ago, their confidence was low. Now they are flying, and the difference is obvious to everyone. We told them that they were good enough to beat Coleraine. We devised a way to play, and they took our instructions on board and applied them to the letter.”

Stephen feels that qualification for the BetMcLeanLeague Cup semi-final – and a Mid-Ulster derby clash with Portadown – is a major boost. “Playing league matches week in, week out can be monotonous,” he continued. “The cup is different. The clash with Portadown is something to look forward to. Every player in our squad will want to play that night. Then, if we win, there is the prospect of a final at Windsor Park. It is a big encouragement to everyone.”

Finally, Stephen revealed that Niall Quinn may be fit to play against Larne. The former Linfield defender has been struggling with a hamstring injury. Sean Ward returns after serving a one-match suspension. Unfortunately, Danny Wallace will be an absentee. He was given a three-match ban for his sending-off against Coleraine. Otherwise, the squad will be on similar lines to that which performed so well at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds.

When Glenavon played Larne at Mourneview Park in September 2023 – Stephen McDonnell’s first game in charge – the visitors won 4-0.

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 11th December 2023 Glenavon Reserves v Coleraine Reserves, Mourneview Park, 1945 k.o.
  • Friday 8th December 2023 – Coleraine U-18s v Glenavon U-18s, The Showgrounds, 2000 k.o.
  • Friday 8th December 2023 – Glenavon U-16s v St. Oliver Plunkett U-16s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 2000k.o.
  • Saturday 9th December 2023 – Glenavon U-15s v Rosario U-15s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 0930 k.o.
  • Saturday 9th December 2023 Glenavon U-14s v Maiden City U-14s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1100k.o.