Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon v Crusaders Charity Shield: Jordan Jenkins' joy but charity clash sparks war of words

Glenavon 1 Crusaders 0

By David Mason

Teenage sensation Jordan Jenkins was drenched in the finest champagne after bagging a dramatic winner in the NI Hospice Charity Shield clash - but he wasn't of age to sample the stuff!

The 16-year-old was summoned to Mourneview Park by Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton to supposedly 'sit on the bench' for the annual Irish League season opener against double title winners Crusaders.

He was introduced to the action on 71 minutes to replace Declan O'Brien, who had earlier taken over from Greg Moorhouse, and the east Belfast kid required a mere seven minutes to open his goal account, which duly guaranteed his team the first piece of silverware of the season.

Jenkins admitted it was a dream come true, stating: "I still can't believe it. To be even on the pitch with these players was brilliant, to score the winner is just unbelievable.

"It's like a dream. I played in two friendly games during the week. I was surprised to get a call for the Shield game.

"I only found out on Friday that I'd been called up. Gary told me I'd probably get a couple of minutes, but the way things worked out I got a bit longer."

Jenkins, who was mobbed by delighted team mates after his strike, added: "I can't even remember much about the goal. The ball fell to me and I just decided to hit it first time."

But there is an old head on those young shoulders, because Jenkins knows it will be back to reality next week.

"I know I'll be back in the reserves," he continued. "Everything has happened so quickly. Andy Mathieson brought me to Glenavon, he offered me a trial a few weeks back. I was playing for Ridgeway Rovers when he approached me.

"I was signed after playing only one game - although I did score a hat-trick in that match for the reserves against Annagh United."

Meanwhile, a war of words developed between rival managers Stephen Baxter and Gary Hamilton in the aftermath of the game, with the Crusaders chief and his backroom staff storming off before the presentation of the trophy.

Baxter - seething after seeing midfielder Matthew Snoddy carted off to hospital with a ankle ligament damage, while skipper Colin Coates and Michael Carvill both picked up head and facial injuries - insisted his team will now boycott any further Shield fixtures.

"We'll not be playing in another one of these games - that's the end of it for us," he fumed.

"I have nothing against the charity. We as a club will probably do our bit to support the charity, have a friendly game or something.

"In the event of us winning the league or cup, we'll not be playing in this final again. I'll even make a personal donation, but we'll not be part of it.

"It was supposed to be a friendly match to raise money for good causes. But that was a poor advertisement for our game."

Baxter make no apology for storming off at the finish, adding: "It was supposedly a charity game of football, but I'm afraid the moment was missed.

"The integrity of the game was spoiled for me. The behaviour of how the game was played out was a disgrace. The tackles and the kicking that went on off the ball, again were disgraceful. To be honest, I just couldn't wait for the final whistle."

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton, whose team had to play with only 10 men for over an hour after having defender Mark Patton dismissed, accused Baxter of showing a 'lack of respect', stating: "I applaud the Crusaders players for staying on the pitch for the pitch for the presentation and supporting the cause.

"For whatever reason, Stephen and his staff decided to head to the dressing room, I think he showed a lack of respect to us and the tournament.

"There was no prize money, it was all about the charity. Most people have friends or family that have suffered from cancer, so it was all about the charity, regardless of the result.

"When his team are winning everything is fine, but when they don't he can be a wee bit patronising."

Glenavon: Tuffey , Kelly (Elebert, 46  mins), Lindsay (Doyle, 46 mins), Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Patton, McGrory, Moorhouse (O'Brien, 32 mins (Jenkins, 71 mins)), McCourt (Hamilton, 61 mins), Bates 7. Unused sub: Taylor.

CRUSADERS: O'Neill, Burns, Beverland, Coates (Gault, 23 mins), McClean, Lowry, Clarke (Snoddy, 55 mins (Soares, 72 mins)), Whyte (Holden, 68 mins), Carvill (Cushley, 32 mins), Forsythe, Owens.

Unused subs: Lyttle, Heatley.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Match rating: 7/10

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