Gary Hamilton hails players after Glenavon shock Glentoran

Guy Bates scored a late winner for Glenavon to knock Glentoran out of the Irish Cup
Guy Bates scored a late winner for Glenavon to knock Glentoran out of the Irish Cup

Delighted manager Gary Hamilton hailed his players following Glenavon’s late heroics at the Oval on Monday night.

Two goals in the final two minutes saw the Lurgan Blues snatch a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Glentoran and book their place in the semi-finals of the Irish Cup.

The Glens appeared destined for that semi date after Jay Magee converted a first half penalty.

But a header from captain Kris Lindsay in the 88th minute and a clinical strike from Guy Bates in the final seconds completed a dramatic turnaround for the visitors.

Glenavon will now meet Crusaders in the semi-finals at Windsor Park on April 5.

“You have to see these players in training to see the commitment and effort they put in,” Hamilton said.

“They are a great bunch of lads and there is quality in there as well. It was a great win for us, and even when we equalised the lads were saying ‘let’s go and win this’. They didn’t want a replay and we kept pushing for the winner.”

Magee’s penalty arrived in first-half stoppage time after Jordan Stewart was upended inside the box by Glenavon goalkeeper James McGrath.

Stewart latched onto David Scullion’s through ball before McGrath’s intervention saw the winger tumble to the ground.

Magee stepped up to hammer home the resulting penalty.

The drama arrived late on after Morris appeared to have preserved Glentoran’s place in the cup.

Morris denied Hamilton with a superb finger tip save in the 87th minute, and seconds later clawed away Andy McGrory’s deflected shot over the bar.

It was a brief reprieve, as from the resulting corner Lindsay headed home Hamilton’s cross to level matters. And with a replay looming, up stepped Bates to bag the winner with a low drive off the inside of he post after Glentoran failed to clear Rhys Marshall’s cross.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Bradley, Magee, Addis, Henderson, Nelson (Boyd 80), Scullion (Kerr 59), Stewart, McAlorum, Allen, O’Hanlon (Miskimmin 90). Subs not used: Hogg, Hughes.

GLENAVON: McGrath, Neill (Patton 62), Lindsay, Bates, McGrory, Marshall, McKeown, McCabe, Martyn (Rainey 85), Singleton, Mulvenna (Hamilton 62). Subs not used: Kilmartin, McCaul.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)