Mid-Ulster Cup : Silver lining has Glenavon smiling
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 2: It may not have been all the silverware they had hoped for, but Glenavon will still be happy to have the Belfast Telegraph Mid-Ulster Cup back in their trophy cabinet after exacting a measure of revenge on bogey team Dungannon Swifts.
The Lurgan Blues wasted little time in taking the advantage in the final at Stangmore Park, Trevor Molloy scoring after just 90 seconds — in his side’s second attack.
A second-half strike from Gary Hamilton ensured that the silverware was heading back to Lurgan.
Mark Miskimmin had the first shot of the tie, but his effort was turned behind by keeper Sean O’Neill.
Kyle Neill’s corner was played short to Stuart King, who fired a long ball to the back post for Molloy. A touch allowed the Dubliner to compose himself before blasting home a low shot from 14 yards.
Swifts sought an immediate response, but without influential striker Timmy Adamson, they looked a little weak in the final third. Yet they had a couple of chances soon after going behind.
Mickey Ward brought a save from Patrick Jennings midway through the half, while Ryan McIlmoyle was inches off target from distance on 25 minutes.
Glenavon dealt well with the pressure, while continuing to have the better chances.
Molloy forced O’Neill into action with a 22 yard left-footed curler and the goalkeeper was up to the challenge this time, making a crucial save.
Hamilton should have doubled the lead when he got in behind the home defence, O’Neill reading the situation well to make the stop.
Just 27 seconds after the re-start Swifts’ teenage midfielder PJ Lavery had a 25 yard shot fingered over the bar.
Ward seized on a mistake by Miskimmin and raced in on goal, but Jennings raced to the edge of the box for a decisive intervention that enabled Mark Haughey to make the clearance.
Swifts appeared to be in control and had another chance to level the score a minute later, but Michael Funston’s long range shot flew just over.
Then, against the run of play, Glenavon doubled their advantage. Haughey won a tackle on the right and Swifts were caught out by a quick pass from Miskimmin to Hamilton, deep inside the box. The striker rounded O’Neill before slotting the ball into an empty net.
Dungannon made changes in an effort to salvage something, but their focus on attack backfired, with shots from Miskimmin, Conor Walsh and Ryan Harpur forcing a temporary retreat.
Swifts threw everything forward in the final minutes but, despite a series of shots, they failed to find the goals they needed against the holders.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: S O’Neill, Mullan, McClean, Montgomery, R O’Neill, Fitzpatrick, Funston, Murphy, PJ Lavery, Ward, McIlmoyle. Subs: McCluskey, Mulgrew, Forker, McKee, Topley.
GLENAVON: Jennings, Shannon, Neill, Magee, Haughey, Walsh, Harper, King, Molloy, Hamilton, Miskimmin. Subs: Harpur, Grant, O’Carroll, Costello, Lavery.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)