Paddy McCourt showed glimpses of his undoubted class as he made his Glenavon debut at Banbridge Town on Tuesday night.
The Lurgan Blues won the game 2-0 thanks to early goals from Rhys Marshall and Greg Moorehouse with McCourt playing the game in central midfield.
The former Celtic star barely broke a sweat as he put in a masterful performance, dictating the tempo during the hour he was on the field. He rarely lost the ball and demonstrated the full range of his passing ability, all interspersed with moments of class to ghost past opponents and thrill the support.
For Town, a young left-back stole the show as Danny Devlin didn’t put a foot wrong, coming up against more senior opposition.
He went toe to toe with Andy Hall, the man who boasted the most assists in the Premiership last season, and he certainly didn’t look out of place. Tackling, heading, positional sense - all of the natural attributes were there to suggest Devlin has a bright future ahead.
Hall did manage to register his customary assist, but there was little Devlin could have done. It came from a corner-kick which may well have been nestling straight into the net even before Marshall made sure.
Soon after the restart, it was two. Town goalkeeper Stephen Cairnduff was caught unawares by the raw pace of young striker Moorehouse, who was on top of him in an instance, made the tackle and slammed home.
The young striker is another fruit of Tony Grant’s scouting labour south of the border. He is raw - but if he can learn from Glenavon’s star-studded squad, he has plenty of potential to become a top forward.
Cairnduff did make amends with a series of stops during the remainder of the game as Moorehouse and Fabio O’Brien pushed relentlessly on in search of the third goal for Glenavon.
At the other end, Town strikers Ashley Gregg and Neil Clydesdale had a tough evening, up against two monster defenders in Simon Kelly and David Elebert. Nonetheless, the duo showed their quality. Gregg held the ball well while Clydesdale was constantly buzzing around, trying to make something happen.
For Glenavon, the impact on the squad of a fully fit Elebert could scarcely be overstated - especially in the absence of Conor Dillon.
All in all, it was a good evening for Town with plenty of fans pouring in through the gates.
The ‘Mourneview Messi’ McCourt looks like he will be a treat to watch for the Glenavon support once he gets his fitness up while Town fans can be just as excited about their season, and about the prospect of young Danny Devlin.
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