Andy McGrory scored one of the most important goals in Glenavon’s history as his late penalty sealed a 3-2 derby win over Portadown at Mourneview Park on Saturday.
The big home crowd who turned up saw the Lurgan Blues clinch third spot and that Europa League 200,000 jackpot with Clilftonville only drawing with Linfield.
With just six minutes gone the dream was alive as Glenavon took the lead. It was a bit of good fortune as a corner from Kevin Braniff was missed by keeper David Miskelly and in the bid to clear their lines the ball came off Rhys Marshall and over the line.
The Ports hit back with Peter McMahon breaking wide on the right side, then cutting inside Kris Lindsay before drilled his shot wide of the post.
Skipper Lindsay was in the right place at the right to clear the ball away from goal after a free kick by Chris Casement beat James McGrath as he came to collect.
Then Sean Mackle found space on the edge of the box but McGrath did well to tip his well struck shot over the bar.
In a quick counter Glenavon broke on the left with Eoin Bradley crossing for Braniff but he scuffed his shot well wide.
Tempers flared when Mark McAllister caught Marshall and he picked up a yellow from referee Raymond Crangle who then gave manager Gary Hamilton a yellow for something he said to the linesman.
The Lurgan Blues went close to doubling their lead on 22 minutes when a corner from Mark Patton was met by Lindsay but his powerful header flew wide.
Glenavon were quick on the break but after a couple of near misses they were gifted a second. It was another howler from Miskelly as he mis-read a pass back by McAllister and Bradley latched onto the ball and walked it into the net on 31 minutes.
Portadown showed more urgency after the restart and enjoyed a good spell of possession but rarely troubled the Glenavon goal.
Braniff created a lovely break for the home side when he got away from two markers and fed Martyn but his pass to Bradley was blown up for offside.
A few minutes later McGrath made a fine save when he leapt to his left to clutch a header from Gary Twigg.
The Lurgan Blues were reduced to ten men on 70 minutes when Singleton was given a straight red after a clash with Ken Oman. After several players were involved the ref consulted with his linesman and apart from the red he gave Oman and Gault yellow cards.
With just 11 minutes to go Glenavon conceded their first goal in 447 minutes as McMahon lashed home after the ball fell to him from a throw-in.
Portadown levelled on 84 minutes when the linesman flagged the ball had corss the line despite McGrath trying to keep out a header from Twigg.
Glenavon needed one last push and right on 90 minutes they got a massive break when Bradley worked his way into the box and was tripped by Redman. The ref pointed to the spot and Andy McGrory kept his cool to make it 3-2.
Glenavon: McGrath, Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bradley, Patton, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton.
Subs: McKeown, Neill, Hamilton, O’Brien, Elebert.