Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton predicted a big future for young defender Rhys Marshall following his team’s historic Tennent’s Irish Cup win over Linfield at colourful Windsor Park.
The former Northern Ireland striker wrote himself into the record books by becoming only the second manager to lead the Lurgan Blues to multiple cup victories – and the party at Mourneview could go on for some time yet.
Kevin Braniff and Andy Hall may have grabbed the headlines by scoring the goals to torpedo a hugely disappointing Linfield challenge, but Hamilton was quick to nominate his man of the match – Rhys Marshall, stating “he’s too good for Irish League foothball”.
A beaming Hamilton said: “There were a lot of good performances, but it was Rhys who really stood out for me. He was streets ahead of everyone else in the park.
“He wasn’t beaten once over the 90 minutes and that’s no mean feat against a team like Linfield.
“In my opinion, Rhys Marshall shouldn’t be playing in the Irish League. I’ve been player here for 14 or 15 years and he’s the best I’ve seen.
“In my opinion, Rhys is a better player than a lot of players that have gone across the water. I’ve seen Gareth McAuley come through the Irish League – and he went on to achieve great things for club and country. I would rate Rhys even better.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He scores eight or nine goals a season, without hitting free kicks or penalties.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s Irish Cup win, Hamilton added: He added: “There is no better feeling to win the cup with the club you love. After we got the first 15 minutes out of the road, I thought there was only going to be one winner.
“We were really dominant.”