Glebe North will warm up for their FAI Cup first round glamour tie with Sligo Rovers next week with a pair of friendlies against Northern Irish Premiership side Glenavon.
The first of the pair of friendlies saw the Lurgan Blues run out 4-0 winners in a well-contested tie at Market Green on Saturday afternoon in the Balbriggan side’s first proper pre-season outing.
The Lurgan Blues were due to welcome Usher Celtic to Mourneview Park this coming Saturday but the Islandbridge side had to pull out due to insufficient numbers and Glebe stepped into the breach.
With Glenavon already primed for their season, and League of Ireland Premier Division side Sligo bang in the middle of theirs, it represents the perfect preparation for the game.
Indeed, Glebe were well in the Glenavon game going into the final half-hour, trailing 1-0 before a raft of changes took their toll.
Sammy Clingan had given the visitors, watched on by up to 200 of their travelling fans, the lead in the first half as they dominated proceedings.
The County Armagh side’s superior fitness told in the end as goals from Stephen Murray, Conor McCloskey and Jordan Jenkins saw them pull away in the latter stages.
“I think it’s good preparation for the Sligo game to be playing the likes of those teams,” manager Gary McCormack told the Dublin Gazette.
“They play similar football – they try to play good football, like Sligo.
“It was a good run-out for us, to try and work on a few things we’d be doing in the Sligo game formation-wise and even team selection, where the new lads come and fit in.
“The game itself was decent. Up until 60 minutes, it was 1-0 and we made a load of changes and once all the changes are made the game goes dead.
“It’s hard for lads who are coming off the bench to get into the game then but, for 60 minutes, we were very good and contained them very well.
“We had a few half-chances, nothing major, but we just didn’t keep the ball well. But that was our first big friendly – we’d played two others but this was our first big test. I was really happy with it.”
Glebe and Glenavon have a relationship going back years as playmaker Adam Foley – Glebe’s top scorer and assist-maker last year – has twice joined the Lurgan Blues from the LSL club.
Foley, whose first spell at Glenavon was marred by a cruciate knee ligament injury, has since signed for Newry City.
He’s the only significant departure in the summer, with the likes of Reece Weldon and Andy Haran staying up, while centre-half Josh Dunbar has arrived from Drogheda United Under-19s.
And there’s good news too in that the Market Green has passed FAI inspection and will host the Sligo game on Friday,, August 9 at 7.45pm.