Glenavon welcomes Ballymena United to Mourneview Park on Saturday. It will be the clubs’ final Sports Direct Premiership fixture of 2023. On Tuesday United, under the management of Jim Ervin, defeated Coleraine 3-1 at the Showgrounds. It was a welcome boost after a run of seven matches without scoring a goal.

“Ballymena will be more confident than they would otherwise have been after such a good performance and result,” said Stephen McDonnell. “We will have to be on our guard. But equally, we don’t feel as if we have anything to fear. We have beaten them twice already this season.”

The Glenavon boss was delighted with his side’s display in the Boxing Day visit to the Newry Showgrounds. “We played very well and, I thought, fully deserved our 4-0 win,” he continued. “We challenge the team before every game to make a fast start and we did that with Danny Wallace’s early goal. After that we dominated possession and always looked in control. It was, in many ways, the perfect away performance and result.”

McDonnell had special praise for Peter Campbell and Niall Quinn. “We asked Peter and Niall to play in slightly different positions,” he added. “Peter finished with three assists and hit the post and Niall scored our third goal. That shows the impact they had. Don’t forget that Conor Kerr is also, technically, playing out of position. He made a big contribution too.”

Stephen revealed that Conor McCloskey, injured in the first half against Newry, is likely to be out of action for a minimum of eight weeks. “Conor has damaged ankle ligaments,” he said. “It looks as if it might be March before he will be available to play again. It is very disappointing for him and for us. He has played a major role in everything that we have tried to do since September.”

On a more positive note, Mark Haughey has been given the green light to play competitively again. He is likely to feature for Glenavon Reserves in early January 2024. Robbie Garrett completes his three-match suspension against the Braidmen.

The match against Ballymena is sponsored by Bawnbua Foods N.I. Ltd. Bawnbua is based at Crowhill Road, Lurgan. It specialises in the production of meat and poultry meat products. Next year will be its fortieth in business.

The ball sponsor is Timothy Kerr. Timothy and his father Tom are both lifelong supporters. The ‘Player of the Match’ sponsor is Diamond Elite Chauffeur Services. Many thanks to all our sponsors.

On a more sad note, a minute’s silence will be held before the match for Jackie Murray. His Funeral Service is at Malcomsons Funeral Home on Saturday 30th December at 11am followed by interment in Lurgan Cemetery. The funeral cortege will pause at Mourneview Park at approximately noon.

There will also be a minute’s applause on the 21st minute in memory of Lydia Ross, a life long Ballymena United fan, who tragically passed away in a car crash on Thursday.

When Glenavon played Ballymena United at Mourneview Park in September, the home side won 1-0 thanks to Calum Birney’s headed goal early in the first half. The Lurgan Blues also won the return meeting at the Warden Street Showgrounds in November 1-0 courtesy of Conor McCloskey’s header.

Glenavon v Ballymena Utd., Last Season
Date Result
14/08/22 Ballymena Utd. 2 Glenavon 2
28/10/22 Glenavon 3 Ballymena Utd. 2
03/04/23 Ballymena Utd. 0 Glenavon 1
11/04/23 Glenavon 1 Ballymena Utd. 1

Other Glenavon teams in action this weekend:

(Free Admission to all games)

  • Wednesday 3rd January 2024 – Glenavon Reserves v Crusaders Reserves, Mourneview Park, 1945 k.o.
  • Friday 29th December 2023 – Crusaders U-18s v Glenavon U-18s, Seaview, 2000 k.o.
  • Saturday 30th December 2023 – Glentoran U-16s v Glenavon U-16s, Ashfield Boys’ High School, 3G, 1100 k.o.