David Healy’s appearance for Glenavon against Leeds United next Wednesday night is the icing on the 125th anniversary cake for the Mourneview Park club.
Gary Hamilton, who played with David during their early days at Lisburn Youth, is delighted an icon of Northern Ireland football will make his first appearance for an Irish League club in a Glenavon shirt.
“I can’t thank David enough for agreeing to play in the game,” says Gary. “For fans and even the boys who will be playing alongside David, he is a hero, a player who we all idolised for Northern Ireland.
“When we started to think of what we could do to add something to the game David’s name came up. I contacted him and he got back within an hour to say, ‘Yes’. He won’t play the whole 90 minutes but the fact he is here and will play is a massive boost and the fact he played for Leeds too is another plus factor. I’m sure the visiting Leeds fans will give him a good welcome.
“David has never forgotten where he came from and is a credit to himself and his family. He is always ready to help out Northern Ireland football in whatever way possible. It is a measure of the man that he accepted without hesitation our offer to play.”
David was leading goalscorer at Leeds when he played for them for three seasons from 2004 to 2007.
However, it is on the international stage which he is remembered best with a Northern Ireland record of 36 career goals; and he holds the record for the most goals in a European Qualifying campaign at 13 including a hat-trick in the famous 3-2 victory at over future World and European champions Spain at Windsor Park.
David, who lives near Bolton, hung up the boots after a short spell at Bury.
Glenavon continued their pre-season programme on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win at Kilmore Rec.
Captain Kris Lindsay opened the scoring before Kilmore levelled just before the break.
Andy McGrory made it 2-1 early in the second half and manager Gary Hamilton came off the bench to set up Lee Doherty for the final goal of the night.
“It was a satisfying performance against a good youthful side who are very competitive at their level,” said coach Nigel Law.
“Defensively we were solid, controlled possession throughout and created a lot of good chances. We tested their back four with good movement in behind throughout the game and didn’t show any rustiness from a 10-day break after Europe.
“It was good for Andy McGrory and James Singleton to play an hour on comeback from injury and for Matthew Reynolds to play 90 minutes on his first appearance for the first team.”
Glenavon were scheduled to play Ballyclare Comrades last night (Wednesday). There is no game on Saturday, but a double training session is planned.