Belfast Telegraph

We are a match for anyone says Glenavon hat-trick hero Declan O'Brien after Ballinamallard win

Glenavon 5 - Ballinamallard 1

By Ian Callender

Hat-trick hero Declan O'Brien believes Glenavon are as good as any team in the Premiership - and no side will be looking forward to visiting Mourneview Park.

After two road trips to Belfast where they picked up only one point against Crusaders and Cliftonville, the Lurgan Blues proved they are much a different proposition on home turf and O'Brien insists only belief is stopping them from challenging for the very top.

"We're as good as anything in the league but we just haven't produced it against the top teams yet," said O'Brien.

"We probably didn't think we were going to win against the Crues but we are good as the top three and you are going to see a different Glenavon team at those places in the future."

On his own first-half miss from the spot, O'Brien added: "Penalties are not my strong suit so I will leave the pens to others. I thought I hit it well but the keeper did well. Leave me with the tap-ins."

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The striker who took his chance in the absence of Eoin Bradley, stranded in Egypt, and the injured Kevin Braniff, was certainly in the right position to convert three crosses from Andrew Hall who had an exceptional game on the right flank while Joel Cooper, on the left, was also a constant threat and earned the penalty when brought down by Gary Phair.

Mallards boss Whitey Anderson described the start of the second half as "five minute of madness".

He said: "We gave away two goals, suddenly it was 4-1 and they can knock the ball about, our boys panic, don't even attempt to play. It's as simple as that."

Visiting keeper Alvin Rouse had his own moment of madness five minutes from time when he kicked out at Andy McGrory and was shown an instant red card. Gary Hamilton beat Leon Carters from the penalty spot to complete the scoring, which had been started by Daniel Kearns before Jason McCartney's penalty leveller.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marshall, Kelly, Lindsay, Neill, Hall, Sykes, Kilmartin (Buckley, 73 mins), Cooper, Kearns (McGrory, 82 mins), O'Brien (Hamilton, 72 mins)

Ballinamallard: Rouse, Phair, Friars (Carters, 81 mins), McLoughlin, McCartney, Lecky, Campbell, McCrudden (Currie, 62 mins), Lafferty, Martin, Feeney (Courtney, 70 mins)

Man of match: Declan O'Brien

Match rating 8/10

Referee: Ian McNabb (Carrickfergus)

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