Hibs snatch victory from jaws of defeat
Courtown Hibs snatched a stunning victory from the jaws of defeat against hosts New Ross Celtic on Sunday morning last to consolidate their place in the MSS Building Supplies Premier Division top four at Christmas.
New Ross Celtic 2 Courtown Hibs 3
As the game ticked into added time Celtic held a 2-0 lead having looked fairly comfortable throughout the second half. Just once did Hibs come close to getting back in the game in normal time - when Eugene O'Brien dwelt on the ball a split-second too long, allowing Kevin Grangel to smother at his feet.
However, nineteen seconds into injury time, Michael Kinsella clipped a lovely ball to Steven Maloney, he headed into the onrushing Leighton Gleeson who blasted into the top right corner to halve the deficit and set a miraculous recovery in motion.
A minute and a half later it was 2-2. Again Maloney was involved, linking up with Glen Hughes on the right edge of the area. The Courtown attacker squared to Gleeson whose low, drilled effort was saved by Grangel but only to the feet of Eugene O'Brien and he fired to the Ross net.
A game that was drifting to a conclusion was suddenly being played at lightning pace. Sean Culleton blazed over as his side broke from the tip-off but Courtown got in again on the left moments later when Hughes slipped Eugene O'Brien clear on goal only for Grangel to save behind.
Yet, the drama still wasn't over. Conor Fortune swung a left foot, right wing corner into the six yard box, it deflected off a defender and headed towards the Ross goal. Grangel got down to save close to the line and as the Hibs players claimed the goal Glen Hughes made sure, poking home the rebound in the 95th minute.
There was little sign of the drama that was to follow as New Ross dominated the first half. The early exchanges brought little in the way of goalmouth action but when Alan Rhodes floated a corner on the wind, under the crossbar in the 13th minute Jamie Heffernan couldn't keep it out under pressure from Colin St Ledger.
With the front two looking lively, the home side continued to create half chances and were rewarded for their endeavours when Dylan Egan split the visiting defence open, Paudie Cullen got to the ball, toed past Heffernan and side-footed to the unguarded net.
Grangel was forced into a couple of sharp saves from Gleeson and Eugene O'Brien strikes before the interval but the 'stoppers heroics would eventually be in vein as Courtown somehow headed north with the three points.
COURTOWN HIBS: Jamie Heffernan; Jack O'Brien, Stephen Fortune, Colum Kinsella, Conor Fortune; Colin O'Brien, Michael Kinsella, Steven Maloney, Glen Hughes; Leighton Gleeson (capt); Eugene O'Brien. Subs. - Conor Berney for J. O'Brien (59), Ian Travers for C. O'Brien (72).
NEW ROSS CELTIC: Kevin Grangel; Sean Culleton, Colin St Ledger, Donnacha O'Connor, Stephen O'Leary; Dylan Egan, Conor Purcell (capt), Alan Rhodes, Ethan Butler; Eoin Rhodes, Paudie Cullen. Subs. - Kieran St Ledger for O'Connor (81), Michael Grangel for Egan (87), Keith Katus for O'Leary (89), also, Keith O'Leary.
REFEREE: John Diskin.