Pressure is all on Glens in Oval cup tie

Gary Hamilton.
Gary Hamilton.

Glenavon head to The Oval on Saturday determined to book their place in the last eight of the Tennents Irish Cup.

Back in November the Glens beat Gary Hamilton’s side 2-0, a day when little went right for the Lurgan Blues.

However, with the weather ruling out the fixture at Mourneview Park last Saturday, a double header was averted.

That could work in Glenavon’s favour. Glentoran go into the tie still smarting from their poor league form in what is a crucial game for them to land a trophy this season.

“It was disappointing our game did not go-ahead on Saturday,” said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton.

“I wanted it on to try and keep our good run and momentum going. It was also a blow financially as the crowds are coming back and Saturday is always much better attendance wise than a Tuesday game.

“The only positive out of it was the two back to back games didn’t happen.

“It’s a big game for both clubs. For Glentoran it looks like their best hope of Europe and no matter what their form has been in recent weeks we know it will still be a tough tie.

“They are one of the three teams we have not beaten this season and on our last visit to The Oval we can have no complaints as they beat us fair and square.

“We want to get into the next round and go as far as possible. While we had a good team which won the cup, I feel now we have greater strength in depth.

“In our last game we had players like Kevin Braniff, Andy McGrory, Mark Patton and Ciaran Martyn on the bench - that is a major plus.”

Lurgan Celtic can put their name in the hat before the Oval tie is settled as their clash with Knockbreda at Knockramer Park starts at 1.30pm.

“There is not much between us in the league and it is a tie both teams will fancy winning,” says Celtic boss Colin Malone.

“I watched them hammer Annagh in the last round, but I think it will be a very close game.

“We are missing Adam Rodgers who is suspended and Brendan Shannon who is cup-tied, but I feel we have enough experience to see us through.

“We will have to go at it from the word go.”