Grant at the double

Grant Gardiner - two goals in Mid-Ulster Cup
Grant Gardiner - two goals in Mid-Ulster Cup

A Grant Gardiner double led Glenavon to victory over Camlough Rovers in the Mid-Ulster Cup on Tuesday night at Mourneview Park.

He crashed a superb first half effort into the top corner from the edge of the area and put the game to bed with 15 minutes on the clock, calmly slotting home the second.

Youngsters Samuel McIlveen, Jordan Dane, Andrew Hoey and Robbie McDaid got rare starts. Left back Marc Brown made his first competitive appearance of the season on his return from injury as Gary Hamilton made 11 changes to the team that had been beaten by Coleraine.

The home side could have scored more but the Camlough keeper was on form. He made a good early save from teenage forward Robbie McDaid and made a double stop from lively winger Mark Patton soon after.

There was absolutely nothing he could do about Gardiner’s opener though as the midfielder lashed home a loose ball from outside the box.

There was more frustration in front of goal for Glenavon after the break as Ciaran Martyn and Mark Patton both blasted over the bar. While it remained 1-0, it wasn’t over and Camlough had a great chance to equalise when they got through on goal. However, their forward lost his cool and fired over the crossbar. They were duly punished as Gardiner latched onto a through ball and tucked home to complete the scoring.

Boss Gary Hamilton was delighted with the effort produced. “It was a good night and good exercise with those knocking on the door making the most of their chance,” said Hamilton.

“Marc Brown has been out for almost six months but never looked as if he had been away. Samuel McIlveen did ever so well at right back showing that he can play in different positions which is so important.

“Robbie McDaid also worked very hard and Grant Gardiner capped his performance with two goals - the first a superb strike from almost 30 yards out and the second a clinical finish to end a neat move. The future is bright with the young players we have here at present.

“I would have liked to have put even more young lads out, but I also had to give some senior players including myself 90 minutes. Perhaps we should and could have scored a few more goals but overall I am very happy with the way we played.”