Gleeson grabs winner for Hibs
Courtown Hibs 2 Corach Ramblers 1
A perfectly-weighted free-kick from club legend Leighton Gleeson was the difference as home side Courtown Hibs advanced to the fifth round of the FAI Junior Cup after a tight 2-1 win over south Wexford rivals Corach Ramblers in Sunday morning's enjoyable tie played at a rather chilly Ounavarra Park.
With five points already separating fifth-placed Courtown from eight-placed Ramblers in the Premier Division table, all form-lines indicated that the hosts were in for a routine progression, but they didn't have it entirely their own way against the plucky visitors.
Corach had made the long journey up from Carrig-On-Bannow with just 13 players in tow, but they certainly gave as good as they got up to half-time, by which stage things stood finely poised at a goal apiece.
Courtown elected to line out with the in vogue three at the back, and entrusted Colin O'Brien to provide the creativity from the right wing, with Glen Hughes utilising his trickery to good effect in the middle.
Ramblers plumped for a more traditional 4-4-2 formation, with hard-working centre-forward John Staples proving to be a real handful up top in an action-packed first-half.
It was slow to get going, though, with the first shot in anger arriving in the 14th minute when Stephen Redmond blasted over after some good footwork from Hughes.
Ramblers had the first genuine goalscoring chance two minutes later, as an off-balance Staples connected with Mick Walsh's delivery and forced Jason Maguire into an excellent outstretched save.
Hibs responded with the most clearcut chance thus far on 21 minutes as Cathal Dunbar's fizzed cross down the left was met by the onrushing O'Brien, but his shot was somehow cleared off the line.
The Corach defence was soon called into evasive action again to deny Jack O'Brien, but they stunned Hibs by taking the lead against the run of play on 32 minutes.
Tadhg Cahill found Alan Diskin, who in turn threaded through to Staples playing off the last man, and he coolly dispatched low to the corner of the net.
That lead lasted for less than two minutes however, as the ball fell kindly to Hughes at the edge of the box, and he found the corner via a deflection to restore balance.
Cahill's header forced Maguire into a fingertip save, while Eugene O'Brien whistled inches passed the framework as both sides created openings before the break.
The crossfield wind stiffened on the resumption as Ramblers' goalscorer forced an early save, but they largely resorted to hopeful punts up the field thereafter as they struggled to create anything more substantial.
Meanwhile, Hibs struck for that game-winning goal on 56 minutes when Gleeson curled around the wall after O'Brien was unceremoniously tripped outside the box.
They should have extended their lead further, only for Redmond's towering header to ricochet off the crossbar, while another couple of half-chances came and went too.
And although they held firm for the win, they were made sweat on 77 minutes when Staples powerfully headed home, only for it to be correctly ruled out as he pushed a defender in the process of jumping.
Courtown Hibs: Jason Maguire; Cormac Moore, Leighton Gleeson, Conor Fortune; Colin O'Brien, Jack O'Brien, Colm Kinsella, Glen Hughes (capt.), Cathal Dunbar; Eugene O'Brien, Stephen Redmond. Subs. - Daniel O'Brien for Dunbar (63), Lorcan Rossiter for Redmond (90), Dylan Fleming for E.O'Brien (90), also Jamie Herbage, Graham Greene, David Savage.
Corach Ramblers: Darren Carthy; Adam Diskin, Mick Walsh, Aaron Diskin, Richie Walsh; Ollie Murphy (capt.), Philip Murphy, Tadhg Cahill, Darren Sinnott; John Staples, Alan Diskin. Subs. - David White for Cahill (63), also Mark Sinnott.
Referee: Seamus Kelly.