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Tennent's Irish Cup quarter-final Glenavon v Loughgall: Villagers' boss Hawe vows 'It will be no old pals act'

By Stuart McKinley

Published 04/03/2016

Up for cup: Stephen Hawe is aiming to cause a major shock
Up for cup: Stephen Hawe is aiming to cause a major shock

Football will be put before friendship by Stephen Hawe tomorrow when he attempts to help Loughgall produce the biggest upset of this season's Irish Cup.

The relationship between the Villagers' first-team coach and Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton goes back a long way. To their mid-teens in fact, when they both earned dream moves to Blackburn Rovers.

Fast forward 20 and now they are going head-to-head for a place in the Irish Cup semi-finals, with Hawe hoping to inflict maximum pain on his old pal.

"I've known Gary for a long time," said Hawe.

"We signed for Blackburn at the same time and lived together during the five or six years that we were there.

"The club was flying at the time and neither of us really got the opportunity that we'd hoped for. We went out on loan a couple of times and then eventually ended up coming home.

"I think Gary could have done well if he'd got the chance. He is still the best centre forward that I played with.

"We are still friendly, although it's been a wee while since we were in touch.

"I'm looking forward to catching up with him again after the game - hopefully after we've put one over on him."

Cup shocks have been few and far between, not just this season, but in the last few years.

Loughgall enter the contest as huge underdogs against the 2014 winners, but one thing in particular has given Hawe some belief that the Villagers can produce the shock of the season.

"Glenavon are a good side and Gary has done a great job there. I think within the next couple of seasons they could be right up there," said Hawe.

"Eoin Bradley being out suspended is a bonus for us. He's been banging goals in and I'm not sure how they'll cope wihtout him.

"Realistically it will take them to have an off-day if we are to win, but it's happened before and the one things we want to make sure of is that our players don't freeze.

"One thing I do know is that we won't be going there to be defensive."

Loughgall have no reason to be defensive. In fact, in Warner Mullan they have one of the most feared strikers in Championship 1 and Glenavon will have to be wary of his ability to find the net if they are to sidestep this particular banana skin.

"Warner used to get 10-12 goals a season, but we brought Daniel Ryan back to the club to play alongside him and the partnership really took off," said Hawe.

"I think having someone else to share the load took the pressure off Warner and the two of them have blossomed.

"They aren't far off 30 goals between them this season and if we are going to get past Glenavon he would be the man we need to deliver for us."

Belfast Telegraph

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