Youngsters can learn from defeat

Glenavon 0 Newry City 1

GARY Hamilton says his young Glenavon side can take some experience from their 1-0 Mid-Ulster Cup Final defeat to Newry City.

Hamilton made just two forced changes to the young side who had overcome Dungannon Swifts 4-1 in the semi-final and they fell at the final hurdle, although Hamilton says it was a valuable experience for the club’s reserve players.

“For a lot of them, it was their first senior final and it was a good experience for them,” he said.

“We wanted the lads to come up against a decent team and it was a good marker for me to see where the boys are at and to have a look at who could do a job for me next season.

“There were a couple of the boys who made a good impression on me but I’ll watch how they’re all getting on for the rest of the season. I don’t judge players on one game. They’re young and with young players you get some inconsistency so I’ll watch them and see how they get on.

“We played the team that we promised we would play. After the lads beat Dungannon, we told them they’d play in the final and they did, except for Andy Mitchell who played for the U18s the night before and picked up a bit of a calf injury and Mark Miskimmin who was suspended. Myself and Kyle Cherry came in.

“In the first half, we could have been 2-0 or 3-0 down but in the second they (Newry) were hanging on a bit and we created a couple of chances and had a lot of play in the last 15 or 20 minutes. The occasion maybe got the better of the boys in the first half but they relaxed and settled down a bit in the second.”

Newry found themselves deservedly 1-0 up at half-time after Darren Freeman tucked the ball past Andy Coleman from the edge of the area on 36 minutes.

The visitors had dominated at Mourneview Park with Marty Haveron forcing a good save from Coleman before Darren King clipped the top of the bar

Haveron almost made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute too when he claimed that his back post header crossed the line. The linesman’s flag remained at his side though and so, after Coleman made another good save from Darren Hanaphy, the Bordermen were just one goal ahead at the break.

Glenavon improved in the second half and it took two goal-line clearances by Paul Donegan to deny Gerard Rooney and Chris Lavey in quick succession. On 74 minutes, yet another block on the line denied Andrew Mitchell as Glenavon pushed to find the elusive equaliser.

It wasn’t to be, however, and it was Newry who lifted the trophy, denying Glenavon a third straight Mid-Ulster Cup victory.