Glenavon looking to march on in league

Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn celebrates after scoring to make it 3-1
Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn celebrates after scoring to make it 3-1

Glenavon secured their top six place on Saturday - and now they are gunning for their highest league position since 2001-02.

That season they finished second to Linfield and while there is no chance of the Lurgan Blues repeating that feat this time around there is something of a feel-good factor around the club.

With just one defeat since the turn of the year and an Irish Cup semi-final to come in a few weeks focus, for now, is on the league.

First Team Coach, Nigel Law, said, “The top six was never our ambition coming into the season, we just wanted to improve on last year - could that take us to seventh or somewhere closer to the bottom half of the top six.

“As the season progressed we had to re-evaluate our ambitions.

“For the last period of months the top six is what we have been looking for.

“What we’ve just reminded the players is because we’re now sixth will have to be looking at fifth.

“Can we keep this run of form going or can we push a wee bit higher than that?

“We’re pleased but no we have to re-evaluate once again and ask where this group of players can finish with seven games left to go.”

Saturday’s game was slow to start - even the sending off of Gary Browne for scraping his studs down Winkie Murphy’s shins failed to spark the game to life.

Thankfully the second half was much livelier and Coleraine pulled level when a lovely threaded ball by Joe McNeill found Adam Mullan to score.

But parity was only restored for three minutes as Glenavon found their way in front on the hour mark. David Rainey found Mark Patton inside the box, he played the ball to Martyn who took a touch before striking with his left foot past Ferry.

The former Glentoran man completed his brace when he scored with 12 minutes left, converting an Andy McGrory cross with a spectacular scissors kick.

Law thought the game was a bit flat but, he said, “Sometimes you come up against that when you come up against a team who have gone down to 10 men.

“Coleraine are really good side I thought today they were more compact than usual and nice and tight and in David McDaid and the two wide men they have an outlet where they can play quite aggressively.

“David Rainey deserved his goal and he has popped up with what looked like a cracker from the edge of the box.”

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney thought that Browne’s sending off changed the game.

“We are disappointed to have lost, but we played well in the first half.

“To concede right before the break was a real blow for us.

“We went out in the second half and acquitted ourselves well and got our goal but then just minutes later we became sloppy and it’s 2-1.

“I thought that if we could have held on at 1-1 for a bit longer it would have given us a bit of relief and something to hold on to.

“It was a frustrating day but when you go down to 10 men it makes it a tough hill to climb.

“We have four or five games left now where the players will be playing for their futures.

“It’s a chance for them to put down a marker for next season and leave a good impression before we break.”

On the sending off Kearney said: “There had been a bit of a coming together beforehand so they were on the radar.

“Gary’s lifted his foot and in this day and age you can’t do that. I’ve no complaints about it.”