Glenavon’s young guns shot down Glentoran to edge the Lurgan Blues into fifth place in the table after a superb 4-0 win at The Oval on Saturday.
With next Saturday’s crucial Irish Cup semi-final against Crusaders on manager Gary Hamilton’s mind he used this game to give some of the young players at Mourneview Park the chance to step up into senior football.
And they did not let him down with 16-year-old Owen McKeown, 17-year-old Andrew Hoey both scoring goals and superb performances from 18-year-old goalkeeper Sean McIlhone making his debut along with Mark Sykes, who was superb in the middle of the park.
Tiarnan Mulvenna had the first chance on 13 minutes when he was one on one with keeper Hogg after a great ball from Brian McCaul, but the striker’s shot was blocked by Hogg.
Five minutes later The Oval fans thought they had won a penalty when Niall Henderson went down in the box after a tackle by Eddie McCallion, but referee Andrew Davey only awarded a free kick outside the box.
Kyle Neill did well to deflect a shot from Jim O’Hanlon away from goal with his leg after the Glentoran striker had rounded the keeper.
Neill made a great block in the 29th minute to deny a close range shot from Jim O’Hanlon after he had rounded Glenavon’s young keeper. Two minutes later William Garrett made an equally vital block to prevent Mulvenna turning in Patton’s low cross.
Mark Sykes did well to create some space just outside the box but his shot was saved by Hogg.
Glenavon did not have to wait long after the break to open the scoring. Mulvenna burst forward but was tripped up in the box by Mark Clarke and this time the ref pointed to the spot. Mulvenna tucked the ball away into the left corner for his fourth goal since joining in the transfer window.
The second goal came soon after and was superbly tucked away by Mark Patton after he ran onto a pass from Mulvenna and rounded Hogg to have an empty goal to aim for.
If the home fans were stunned, they were soon reeling as Glenavon added two goal goals. Andrew Hoey, making only his second senior start, made it 3-0 in the 81st minute after he picked up Patton’s cross on the edge of the area, he showed good composure in creating the space before firing past Hogg.
Sub Owen McKeown added the fourth after making a great run into the box and he reward was to see his well struck effort go in off the keeper.
It took Glenavon 15 years to win at The Oval a few weeks ago in the cup semi-final, now they can savour two wins in a month.
Glentoran: Hogg, Bradley, Addis, Birney, Garrett, McAlorum, Henderson, O’Hanlon, Allen, McCaffrey, Stewart. Subs: Clarke, Hughes, Boyd, McKee, Nelson
Glenavon: McIlhone, Shannon, Murphy, McCallion, Neill, McCaul, KIlmartin, McIlveen, Patton, Mulvenna, Sykes. Subs: O McKeown, Dane, Hoey, Singleton, Corrigan.