Robbie McDaid fires up Glenavon for Cup glory bid
Glenavon 4 Portadown 2: Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton admitted he had one eye on tonight's Irish Cup sixth round clash away to Ballinamallard United when making his derby-day selections.
Even so, his troops retained the Mid-Ulster bragging rights with a third defeat of Portadown this season and introduced the Mourneview Park faithful to a new hero in the shape of young substitute Robbie McDaid.
The talented hotshot was dispatched from the bench with just 20 minutes remaining and bagged a deadly double to give his manager a welcome dilemma for this evening's Ferney Park showdown.
"I've now built a squad of 20-odd players that are good enough to play in the first team," said Hamilton.
"The players that came in were superb and they have now given me a selection headache for the Cup tie."
On the subject of his latest young starlet, the Lurgan Blues boss added: "Robbie is an exceptional talent as are all the kids at this club.
"When I joined, Robbie, James Singleton, Rhys Marshall and Jordan Dane were all playing for the Under-17s.
"They were far too good for that level, so they were all promoted to the reserves. Now they are all pushing for the first team.
"We are currently in negotiations with a club in England about Robbie. Hopefully, something will develop over the next few weeks. It's ongoing at the minute.
"He has got everything going for him. He's got a great attitude, he's strong and he's a winner. His finishing today was class."
Before McDaid arrived on the stage, Portadown had taken the lead through winger Peter McMahon's 12th minute header.
Mark Patton should have levelled shortly afterwards only to blast over but Glenavon did not have long to wait before restoring parity as man of the match Andy McGrory lashed home after being teed up by Davy Rainey.
Chris Casement's free-kick threatened to put the Ports back in front before the interval but it was the hosts who edged ahead shortly after the turnaround when Singleton pounced with a header.
McDaid had only been on the pitch three minutes by the time he extended Glenavon's advantage at the end of a fine move involving Sammy McIlveen and the lively Patton.
The Ports' hopes were dashed when McMahon was shown a straight red card by referee Raymond Crangle for a senseless kick out at McGrory having already sent the midfielder tumbling to the ground.
Despite that setback, Ronnie McFall's men made a game of things as Darren Murray reduced the arrears at the second attempt after his initial header had been repelled by goalkeeper James McGrath.
Opposite number David Miskelly was almost caught out by an outrageous Brian McCaul effort that struck the post before going behind, but McDaid made sure of victory in stoppage time when he sneaked in at the far post to turn the ball home at the end of another sweeping move.
Glenavon: McGrath, Shannon, McCallion, Kilmartin, Rainey (Hamilton, 70 mins), Patton, McGrory (McCaul, 76 mins), McKeown, McIlveen, Singleton, Mulvenna (McDaid, 70 mins). Unused subs: Marshall, Dane.
Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, O'Hara (Mouncey, 89 mins), Ramsey, McMahon, Mackle, Murray, McCafferty, Twigg, Barton (McStay, 55 mins), Friars. Unused subs: Brennan, Rooney, Judge.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).