Belfast Telegraph

Gary Hamilton: Glenavon don't have the money to compete with the top six

Glenavon 0 Coleraine 2

Tough times: Gary Hamilton saw his Glenavon side suffer an early Irish Cup exit this weekend
Tough times: Gary Hamilton saw his Glenavon side suffer an early Irish Cup exit this weekend

By Ian Callender

Gary Hamilton claims he cannot attract quality players to Glenavon because they can't afford to match the wages offered by their league rivals.

After their exit from the Irish Cup to Coleraine on Saturday, Hamilton said: "It's a difficult time because we're not winning games of football and we're struggling to compete to get the best players into the football club.

"We need someone who can put the ball in the net and hopefully with Greg (Moorhouse) and Danny (Purkis) coming in, they will do that and Conan (Byrne) and Dylan (Davidson) will provide assists - that's what we are hoping for.

"But we can't compete with the other top six in getting the best players. It was always Crusaders and Linfield but we were competing with Cliftonville, Ballymena and Coleraine, but now it's far more difficult and other clubs can give them better wages."

Glenavon have found the net just once in their last three matches - and that was scored by defender James Singleton - and Hamilton started himself on Saturday but, against an impressive Coleraine rearguard, he is still looking for solutions up front.

"We're competing in games, we're playing some good stuff, we dominated the game against Warrenpoint last Saturday, we were on top against Cliftonville for large periods in the second half on Wednesday but couldn't get the goal there either," added Hamilton.

"Now that's our route to Europe gone and it will hurt for a long time. But my job is now to win as many games as possible before the end of the season."

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Debutant Davidson was denied twice from goalbound headers by former Bannsiders team-mate Chris Johns but, although Hamilton also had a shot cleared off the line, it was Josh Daniels who went closest for the home side with a header that back off the crossbar.

The visitors, however, missed their fair share of chances too with James McLaughlin the chief culprit. He was through on goal on no fewer than four occasions but three times he missed the target completely and Jonny Tuffey got a hand on the last to push it round the post.

McLaughlin did play the through ball which gave Coleraine their opening goal in the ninth minute and Jamie Glackin showed him how to finish, dancing past Shamrock Rovers-bound Rhys Marshall and Tuffey to score before Eoin Bradley made sure of progress 16 minutes from time with the decisive second.

It was alert finishing but he was grateful for a mistake by Andrew Doyle, failing to gather a Sammy Clingan pass back, that allowed him to chip Tuffey and shoot into the bottom corner.

"We needed a bit of luck," said defender Gareth McConaghie.

"It was a big achievement to reach the final and win it a couple of years ago and we've a few new boys here now so let's hope they can experience it as well."

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marshall, Doyle, Sharkey, Singleton, Daniels, Clingan, Garrett (Jenkins, 75 mins), Davidson (Marron, 75 mins), Mitchell, Hamilton (Moorhouse, 65 mins). Unused subs: Larmour, Harmon, McCloskey, Beggs.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Canning, McConaghie, Traynor, Parkhill (O'Donnell, 77 mins), Carson, Lowry, Glackin, McLaughlin (Gawne, 80 mins), Bradley. Unused subs: Gallagher, Douglas, McGuckin, Nevin.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Man of the match: Eoin Bradley

Match rating: 7/10

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