Mystic super-sub Mark Patton is true to his word as he fires Glenavon to glory

Mark Patton fires home the winner
Mark Patton fires home the winner

Glenavon goal hero Mark Patton predicted he would score the winner in the Irish Cup final before kick-off.

Patton broke Ballymena United hearts and secured the cup for the Lurgan Blues in the 76th minute, curling a delightful effort past Aaron Shanahan from the edge of the box.

Incredibly, Patton had foreseen his match-winning heroics.

After the game, manager Gary Hamilton revealed the substitute told him he would score the winner before kick-off.

“During the pre-game walk-out, Mark turned round to me and said, ‘I’m going to come off the bench, cut inside and score with me right foot’.

“I told him to wise up, but that’s exactly what he did. His right foot is normally for standing on, but it was superb finish.”

Reflecting on the goal Patton said: “It just dropped to me nicely outside the area. A Ballymena player slipped and that opened up a little bit of space for me and I was able to bend the ball into the bottom corner.

“I don’t normally strike the ball with my right foot, but everything just opened up for me.”

Patton’s remarkable winning goal will go down in Glenavon history and give him parity with past Irish Cup heroes such as Gerard McMahon and Tony Grant, both of whom were at Windsor Park for Saturday’s final.

“You don’t really think about going down in history when you run out onto the field, but I suppose that’s the nice thing about playing Irish League football for a club like Glenavon,” he added.

“Football gives you the opportunity to put yourself in the history books, and I guess I did that today.

“It’s hard to believe that people will be talking about that goal in 20 or 30 years’ time, that side of things hasn’t really sank in yet.

“The Glenavon fans have been fantastic all season and it’s great to give them something to shout about. Both sets of fans came out in big numbers and it made it a very special day.”

Patton has garnered a reputation as something of a super-sub.

He came off the bench to play a pivotal role in both the quarter-final win over Glentoran and the femi-final success against Crusaders.

The influential midfielder completed the set with Saturday’s composed finish.

The 23 year-old added: “Obviously I’d rather be starting every week, but I’m pleased that I’ve been able to have a big impact on the cup games.

“It’s been a really crazy cup run because we won both the Glentoran and Crusaders matches, late in the game.

“It also took us a while to beat Ballinamallard. With the postponed match and the abandonment, it felt like we played them about six times before we progressed.

“I’m delighted for the fans who went to all of those games. They really deserve a day like today.”