On Saturday 3rd February 2024 Glenavon faces Larne at Inver Park in the Clearer Water Irish Cup sixth round. The Invermen are, of course, reigning Sports Direct Premiership champions and recently won the County Antrim Shield for the fourth successive year. Tiernan Lynch, backed by Kenny Bruce’s seemingly unlimited financial resources, has assembled arguably the strongest squad in the Province. Larne’s unbeaten home record now stretches to thirteen months. Indeed, the Lurgan Blues have not beaten the East Antrim club once since its return to local football’s top flight.

This is a huge challenge for us,” admitted Stephen McDonnell. “Larne is probably the best team in the country and is virtually unbeatable at home. They are cast iron favourites. No one is giving us a chance. It is the toughest draw we could have got.”

Nonetheless, the Dundalk man is approaching the tie with a measure of confidence. “As usual we have a gameplan and will do our best to implement it,” he continued. “I think we are capable of matching them and, if we get a few breaks, winning the match. We have dominated our last two away games, albeit we didn’t get a result last weekend.

Last time the two clubs met, at the same venue two months ago, Larne was the 4-1 winner. “I don’t think it is fair to measure our prospects by that result,” added Stephen. “That game was our third in six days, it was played on a Friday night, and we had a number ofregulars missing. This time we have had a full week to prepare and, importantly, it is a Saturday afternoon fixture. We also have, from an attacking point of view, a lot more options.

McDonnell believes that, if his team is to progress, it will need to make a positive start. “We need to switch on from the first whistle,” he said. “We cannot afford to make mistakes and gift them scoring opportunities. If we concede, we must regain our composure quickly. We need to concentrate fully and perform well.”

Stephen reports that apart from Conor McCloskey, Calum Birney and Mark Haughey, everyone is fit and available. This includes Aaron Prendergast and Len O’Sullivan. Conor is obviously coming back from a long-term injury, Mark has a very slight problem with fluid on the knee and Calum, with a recurrence of his groin complaint, is going to be absent for a few weeks or possibly longer,” he added. “But, with our recent signings, we have more depth to the squad than was the case a few months ago. Hopefully, everyone gives their best and we cause an upset.

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 5th February 2024 Glenavon Reserves v Loughgall Reserves, Mourneview Park, 1945 k.o.
  • Friday 2nd February 2024 Larne U-18s v Glenavon U-18s, Inver Park, 2000 k.o.
  • Saturday 3rd February 2024Glenavon U-16s v Loughgall U-16s, Gordon Playing Fields, 1100 k.o.
  • Saturday 3rd February 2024 Greenisland U-15s v Glenavon U-15s, Allen Park, Antrim, 3G, Pitch 1, 0930k.o.
  • Saturday 3rd February 2023 Glenavon U-14s v Glentoran U-14s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 0930k.o.