Belfast Telegraph

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Glenavon 'blew it' and let hard-working supporters down, admits Hamilton

By Adrian Rutherford

Gary Hamilton admitted Glenavon "blew it" after they fell victim to one of the biggest upsets of the season.

The seven-time Irish Cup winners were massive favourites to beat Loughgall and reach the last four.

But on a freezing afternoon they were caught cold by the underdogs - despite all the work which went into getting the tie played.

Fans and staff - including Hamilton himself - had battled on Friday night and Saturday morning to clear snow off the Mourneview surface.

Shovels, blowers, cars and even a tractor were commandeered, but it proved in vain as Glenavon crashed out.

A disappointed Hamilton admitted they let down their hard-working fans.

He said: "We had an opportunity to get to an Irish Cup semi-final and we blew it. We didn't turn up, we didn't start the game. For most of the game we didn't show any desire or hunger to win.

"We've let the fans down that gave up their time to clear the football pitch. It was a hell of an effort that went into it, and I feel really, really bad for them as well."

Hamilton was quick to praise the Championship side.

"You have to give credit to Loughgall," he added.

"Before the game we told the players it was a cup tie, you have to want it, you have to be up for it, and unfortunately today we weren't. They were, in abundance, and they have deservedly gone through to the semi-final."

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer allayed fears the pre-match pitch clearance operation could have damaged a playing surface regarded as one of the best in the league.

"The pitch is fine. We wouldn't have gone ahead if we thought there was a danger of lasting damage," he stressed.

Ahead of the game, a mass balloon release took place to mark the first anniversary of the tragic death of Philip Millar, son of Glenavon's assistant manager Paul Millar.

Each balloon was sponsored, with all profits going to the charity Addiction NI.

Belfast Telegraph

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