Glenavon are the new Mid Ulster Cup champions, after defeating Newry City AFC by a 3 – 1 score line last night on a bitterly cold evening at the Showgrounds in Newry.
Despite the recent wet and then cold weather spell, the pitch was in immaculate condition, with all credit going to the Newry City AFC ground staff once again.
Indeed it was great to see so many local football fans at the match, all of who dug deep into their pockets too as the host club were also in attendance to carry out a bucket collection at the turnstiles for their official charity partners, Southern Area Hospice Services, Newry, with all donations very greatly appreciated.
Just for the record books, Glenavon started this match with player/manager Gary Hamilton joining fellow club stalwart Kris Lindsay as a centre back pairing – a first for the Lurgan blues no doubt!
The home side started well and took the advantage after only a couple of minutes play, when Keith Johnston nipped in to capitalize on a loose back header to fire Newry in front.
The match became somewhat frantic for a while, as both sides sized each other up in the early stages, but then once things settled down both teams showed that they were also capable of playing some good flowing football.
The visitors equalized a few minutes before the break, as Andy McGrory dispatched a penalty kick awarded when Maguire fouled Jenkins.
The sides went in for the interval all tied at 1-1, with the decent sized crowd having enjoyed a fairly entertaining first half.
The second half began in an equally competitive mode.
After 15 minutes play the game was suddenly illuminated by an absolute screamer from 25 yards by Stephen McCavitt, with his shot rifling into the top left corner of the net to give a very youthful Glenavon side the lead for the first time.
City were however far from finished and they created several good chances themselves in the period which followed, with Stephen Hughes, Keith Johnston, Thomas McCann, Mark McCabe and substitute Jimmy Walker all going close.
However with just under 15 minutes left on the clock Jack O’Mahony showed great determination and strength to burst through on goal and calmly slot home a 3rd for Glenavon.
This proved to be decisive, as despite the continued best efforts of the home team the Lurgan men held out for the final whistle to secure their first MU Cup victory since the 2010 / 11 season, their 25th in total since the inception of this competition way back in 1887.
Man of the match was presented by MUFA Treasurer Colin McCullough to Jack O’Mahony for a terrific all-round performance.
Commiserations were offered to the gallant runners-up Newry City AFC who received their medals from MUFA Honorary Secretary Brian Larkin.
Glenavon players were presented with their winners medals and then captain Andy McGrory received the MU Cup from MUFA Chairman Sean O’Neill.
Newry City Team: Maguire, McArdle, Mooney, King, Boyle, McCann, S Hughes, Carville, McCabe, Johnston, M Hughes. Subs: Walker, Cunningham, Mullen, Havern, McMahon.
Glenavon FC Team: Taylor, McCrory, Curran, Lindsay, Hamilton, Foley, O’Mahony, Norton, Jenkins, Griffin, McCavitt. Subs: McKeown, Byrne, Harland, Jamieson, Hunter.
Sincere thanks to all those who attended the game last night, your support as ever is very much appreciated!
(Photos to follow ASAP)