IRISH LEAGUE: Is this teenager the answer to Glenavon’s scoring woes?

Jordan Jenkins celebrates netting his first Premiership goal. Pic: Declan Roughan
Jordan Jenkins celebrates netting his first Premiership goal. Pic: Declan Roughan

Gary Hamilton has had a problem this season - and the answer could have been right under his nose all along.

Last season Glenavon found the net on 72 occasions in the league. This season, however, the goals have dried up. They had netted just 47 ahead of their game against Ballymena.

Step forward 17-year-old Jordan Jenkins, or JJ as he’s known down Lurgan way. To paraphrase legendary Simpsons character Troy McClure, you may remember him from such Glenavon victories as the Charity Shield, where he scored the winner against Crusaders.

During Saturday’s 3-0 win, he found the net twice - and earned Hamilton’s plaudits.

He said: “We gave JJ 20 minutes in the Charity Shield and he scored a goal. Today we gave him a start and he has scored two.

“We shouldn’t have to be relying on a 17-year-old kid to score is goals.

“He knows how to be in the right place in the right time and he’s got a knack of scoring goals. Early in the game he had a shot which went just past the post.

“He’s one of these guys who wants to shoot, wants to score goals and for a striker to have that trait is a big, big plus.

“I was delighted for him. He’s a kid who has scored 49 goals for our reserves and U17s, so he knows where the back of the net is.”

Jenkins was unlucky not to put Glenavon in front early on with his half volley, before Rhys Marshall’s 25-yard free kick tested an outstretched Tim Allan.

But three minutes before the break Marshall broke down the right hand side and wormed his way into the box. Andy McGrory’s shot was blocked with the clearance falling at the feet of the superb Chris Turner. Allan failed to claim his cross and Jenkins finished instinctively to break the deadlock.

Seven minutes after the interval, Jenkins got his second and what a goal it was. Andy McGrory crossed from the right, Jenkins was stood just in front of the penalty spot to volley home.

Greg Moorehouse rounded off the scoring on 83 minutes, placing his effort past Allen after Marshall’s shot, following his mazy run, was blocked.

Ballymena’s only real sniff at goal came midway through the second half when Kyle Owens headed wide from a Leroy Millar corner.

Of his team’s overall performance, Hamilton added: “I thought we were pretty dominant today, the boys performed to their natural potential.

“I thought that defensively we were sound - a clean sheet and I don’t think Tuffey had a save to make during the game. That started with the front two, right through the team.”

Meanwhile Sky Blues boss David Jeffrey said: “We’re disappointed. We know we haven’t played anywhere near to our potential.

“We are delighted to be in the top six. These are the games that we want to be playing in, but these are the games that we want to test ourselves in. We are honest enough to say that today’s game wasn’t up to our standards. We’ll draw a line underneath it and move forward.

“Congratulations to Glenavon, they have responded very well to going out of the Irish Cup last week. They have thoroughly deserved their victory but for us it was a disappointing day.”