Glenavon set to sign Galway United's Darren Clarke and Gavin Hodgins from Shelbourne

Gavin Hodgins in action for Shelbourne against Wexford in the Leinster Senior Cup on May 8th, 2023.

Gavin Hodgins in action for Shelbourne against Wexford in the Leinster Senior Cup on May 8th, 2023. Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)

NIFL Premiership side Glenavon are set to bolster their ranks with deals for Galway United winger Darren Clarke and Shelbourne forward Gavin Hodgins.

Neilstown ace Clarke - the older brother of Bristol Rovers and former Shamrock Rovers flyer Trevor - is set to make the move after helping Galway to promotion as First Division champions.

The 27-year-old was brought into the Hoops fold in 2017 from Collinstown and went on to have spells with Crumlin United and Longford Town before joining the Tribesmen.

Wideman Clarke scored five goals in 15 appearances for John Caulfield’s side as they made their return to the top flight after a six-year absence.

And understands Dubliner Hodgins is close to confirming a loan deal to the Lurgan side from Damien Duff’s Reds, where he worked under Glenavon boss Stephen McDonnell in the under-19s.

The Darndale goal-getter debuted at senior level in a 1-0 defeat to Bohemians in 2022 at the age of 16 before establishing himself in Ireland centurion Duff’s plans.

He made his first start in a 1-1 draw with Finn Harps later that year as he finished the season with five senior appearances.

But he will make the move north to Glentoran on a temporary basis, where he will join Liberties winger James Doona and ex-Shels full-back David Toure at Glenavon.

25-year-old Doona broke through at Shamrock Rovers before winning the Leinster Senior Cup with St Patrick’s Athletic in 2019 and the First Division with Cork City in 2022.

And Dub Toure, who also worked with McDonnell in the Shels underage ranks, has represented Ireland up to under-18 level.

The Lurgan Blues have also sweeped for a new keeper in the ex-Dundalk custodian Mark Byrne as stopper Rory Brown has asked to be placed on the transfer list.

Derry native Brown, 23, is tied down with Glenavon until 2027 but is keen to return to full-time football with Coleraine, Larne and Linfield monitoring his status..

Brown, who has kept five clean sheets in his last seven games, had been linked with hometown club Derry City but that is considered a non-runner for the keeper seeking a first-team spot.

“Rory Brown has been placed on the transfer list at his own request,” Glenavon confirmed earlier this week.. 

“The talented 23-year-old goalkeeper joined Glenavon in May 2022 following a loan spell with Ballinamallard United. He had also played for Glentoran, Institute and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“He initially signed a three-year deal. That agreement was subsequently extended. He has three-and-a-half years remaining on his present contract. 

“A gifted shot stopper, he recently kept clean sheets in five consecutive matches and is widely acknowledged to be one of the top custodians in the Irish Premiership.”