Clash of the Titans

Ross Holden, Crusaders (left), Mark Sykes, Glenavon (far right), l-r Patricia McCabe (NI Hospice Auxiliary Nurse), Adrian Teer, chairman NIFL and Glenavon, Sir Bruce Robinson, NI Hospice and Debbie Sharkey, NI Hospice, help launch the NI Hospice Charity Shield final between Irish Premiership champions Crusaders and Irish Cup winners Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Saturday. Kick-off at 3.00pm.
Ross Holden, Crusaders (left), Mark Sykes, Glenavon (far right), l-r Patricia McCabe (NI Hospice Auxiliary Nurse), Adrian Teer, chairman NIFL and Glenavon, Sir Bruce Robinson, NI Hospice and Debbie Sharkey, NI Hospice, help launch the NI Hospice Charity Shield final between Irish Premiership champions Crusaders and Irish Cup winners Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Saturday. Kick-off at 3.00pm.

With the new season all set to begin next Saturday this is an ideal game for both teams as they put the finishing touches to their pre-season.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton may not play his strongest team as his focus will be on giving vital minutes to certain players, but fans can expect to see new signing Paddy McCourt make his first appearance at Mourneview Park.

“It should be a very entertaining game as we have the league champions playing the Irish Cup winners,” says Hamilton.

“Players will want to go out and win every game they play in, but I see it as another key part in our preparation for the new season. Our plans have been disrupted because of being in Europe. However, it is a problem we are glad to have because qualifying for Europe is our key target each season.

“I don’t see this game with Crusaders as an exercise of assessing where we are against the champions. We know each other well. Like us, they have brought in a few new faces over the summer and I have no doubt it will be a good game for both clubs.

“Paddy (McCourt) will play, but we also have players who have been involved in almost all of our friendlies so they may be rested to give others some a much needed game.”

The arrival of Paddy McCourt and Guy Bates may not be the last additions to the Glenavon squad.

“I’m delighted with the squad we have, but right up until the window you just don’t know what can develop. Last August Ciaran Caldwell asked to move on, but hopefully everyone we have here now will remain with us.”

Luke Fisher, who impressed in the game against Kilbarrack at the weekend, is also wanted by other clubs.

“Luke did very well and we would like to sign him for our development squad, but a few other clubs are after him too.”

The Charity Shield kicks-off at 3.00pm and if it ends in deadlock after 90 minutes it will go straight to penalties - there will be no extra time.

Glenavon season ticket holders are asked to note that their tickets are not valid for this game.

Please note access to the car park will not be permitted after 2.30pm.