Glenavon's victory a timely tribute to Mark Farren
Glentoran 1-4 Glenavon
Football occasionally conjures up stories that not even the greatest scriptwriters could pen, but at The Oval on Saturday, Glenavon's 4-1 Irish Cup sixth round victory over Glentoran created some great narrative in paying tribute to the late Mark Farren.
Farren, who lost his battle with cancer in midweek and had led the Lurgan Blues out in the competition's final back in 2014, was to be celebrated with a 10th minute round of applause from both sets of fans.
As the tribute was about to begin, Joel Cooper landed a cross on the head of Rhys Marshall to not only give Gary Hamilton's side the lead, but to spark off the minute of remembrance.
Ciaran Martyn, a close friend and team mate of Farren then did exactly the same thing in the 18th minute, a time which also held a lot of significance for Derry City's all time top scorer.
"To score in the tenth minute, his number at Glenavon, there's something up there, it's strange," explained Martyn.
"And then for me to score in the 18th minute, which was his number at Derry, which they've now retired, which is only right I think, I'm just delighted.
"At the end of the day, I'm sure his family would have wanted us to go on and win the game. Obviously now our objective is to go on and get to the final.
"The last time we were here, the league game, we were beaten, we were poor that day, Glentoran were better and fully deserved to win, so the message was to remember that and Gary (Hamilton) asked us just to do one thing and that was to win the game for his mate."
In truth, Glenavon did Farren's memory proud and, but for a shaky opening five minutes, looked very comfortable throughout their cruise to the quarter-finals.
"Glentoran started better than us and then we scored and then we scored again and after half an hour it was comfortable," added Martyn.
"With it being 2-0 at half time, it can go either way and we needed the next one and we got the next one and then we just stopped playing again.
"They had a couple of chances and we were poor for a period, but thankfully in the end we have some very good defensive players as everyone knows and Joel (Cooper) has been outstanding."
Indeed Cooper was a standout, particularly in the first half where his wing play on both sides caused the Glens no end of problems. Assisting the first two goals and rounding the game off in style in injury time, he has been key to Glenavon's form of late.
Eoin Bradley's curling effort in the 54th minute was arguably the goal of the day however and Johnny Tuffey's excellent shift in the away goal was only hampered by a lazy boot from his own man Kris Lindsay to gift Alan Kernaghan's well beaten side an 87th minute consolation.
"We were out worked and outfought and they had more desire than us," admitted the home manager.
"I'm not one to slaughter my players but we were second best all over and it galls me to say that, it really does."
GLENTORAN: Hogg, Holland, Gordon, Addis, Birney, Kane, Morrow, McCaffrey (Patton, 46 mins), Scullion (Caldwell, 56 mins) Allen, Lavery. Unused subs: McCullough, Gibson, Smith.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Kelly, Lindsay, McGrory, Sykes (Kilmartin, 79 mins), Martyn, Kearns (Hall, 84 mins)Cooper, Braniff, Bradley (Hamilton, 84 mins). Unused subs: Patton, O'Brien.
Man of the match: Joel Cooper
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)