Daniel Kearns continues to make big impact for Glenavon

Daniel Kearns
Daniel Kearns

Glenavon’s most valuable player, Daniel Kearns, continues to make an impact at Mourneview Park.

The former Carlisle forward bagged his fourth and fifth goals since signing for in October in Friday night’s windswept clash with Carrick Rangers, and the Lurgan Blues say they’re doing their best to hold on to their key man.

First Team Coach, Bryan McLoughlin, said: “Daniel’s a talented player and we’d love to keep him at the club. Gary (Hamilton) and Paul (Millar) are working really hard to try and keep him here.

“Daniel loves it and we love Daniel. He got a standing ovation when he came off, which is only right.

“We have a vote at training about who is the most valuable player and Daniel usually gets it.”

McLoughlin also had praise for young midfielder Mark Sykes, who put in an outstanding performance in midfield. The teenager has had to come in to fill the gap caused by the long-term injury to Ciaran Martyn.

“Mark usually isn’t far behind Daniel in training. He’s a talented young player,” he added.

“He’s good on the ball and he’s learning how to dig in in matches. He’s come up against a difficult opponent in Barry Johnston who is maybe twice his age.

“He’s good in the air, he’s got good feet and he is an exceptional young player.”

Storm Desmond made conditions difficult for both teams, particularly in the first half which was devoid of any real chances.

Carrick felt they should have had a penalty when Joe McNeill was brought down by Simon Kelly, while McNeill was unlucky not to score when he flashed a free kick wide of the mark.

Glenavon got in front after 55 minutes when Joe McNeill brought down Marshall inside the box after he had linked up with Mark Sykes. Daniel Kearns sent Neeson the wrong way with the penalty.

Carrick did create a couple of chances of their own and Jonathan Tuffey was forced into his first save of the game on 65 minutes, and a fine save it was too, parrying away a Brian McCaul curling shot.

Rangers captain, Aaron Harmon, moved into a space to shoot from 25 yards but Tuffey was down low to save the shot.

The points were sealed when Glenavon doubled their advantage on 74 minutes. Joel Cooper managed to edge his way past McCaul before laying the ball off to Kearns to score from the edge of the box.

Carrick boss Gary Haveron described the game as “the story of our season”.

“I said at half time that the only way I saw them (Glenavon) scoring was by us making a mistake and that’s exactly what happened,” he said.

When Carrick take to the pitch on Saturday against Crusaders will be three months to the day since they last won in the league - something Haveron is looking to correct as quickly as possible.

“You have got to look at each game as it comes and judge each game on its merits,” he added.

“We will work hard to try and mix it with the teams in this league and get results.

“There wasn’t much in the game tonight.”