Courtown come out on top after epic cup test
COURTOWN CAME out on top after an epic battle with Bree United in the Under-11 Cup on Saturday morning last.
The Division 1 side were warm favourites coming into the clash against a team playing three leagues lower, but they were made to fight all the way by the spirited visitors in a see-saw match.
A bright start by the hosts was illuminated in the second minute when Daniel Roche was fouled 20 yards from goal. It was going to take a special effort to find the net from the resulting free-kick and Jack Gleeson produced, thumping his shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Gleeson almost added to the lead when he flicked Matthew Sinnott's corner wide two minutes later but Bree, who were on the back foot from the start, suddenly burst to life with a quick-fire double.
Sporting a stylish beanie, Tobias Redmond made the most of a yard of space to play Liam Doyle into the clear. Marauding midfielder Doyle raced away from the defence and slotted a low shot to the corner of the net for the Bree opener but they didn't rest on their laurels and soon scored again.
The second goal was equally the product of superb passing and direct running. Seán Furlong broke from deep into the Courtown half and played an accurate low pass to Michael Humphrey. The attacker returned possession to Furlong who continued his run and hit the target from close range.
Courtown dominated territorially for the remainder of the first-half but with an in-form goalkeeper in Nicky Dempsey being protected by a solid back three of Conor Dawson, Megan Broaders and the excellent Seán Furlong, few clearcut chances presented themselves.
The home side continued to press at the start of the second-half and finally got their rewards when a Sinnott right wing cross came to Gleeson, via Dara O'Connor's flick, and he found the net.
Division 2A side Bree, who struggled before the goal, suddenly sprung to life and almost took the lead when Redmond released Doyle and the midfielder saw his low effort well saved by Cathal Murphy.
However, it didn't deter the visitors who regained the lead when Murphy cracked a thumping shot into the left corner of the Courtown net with 13 minutes remaining. Bree continued to lead until two minutes from time when Roche's shot was flicked to the net from close range by Dara O'Connor.
Extra-time seemed likely after the equaliser but Courtown had one last sting in their tail and they nabbed the win in added time when Matthew Sinnott's shot was deflected to the net past a hapless Dempsey. The victors now host Forth Celtic in the last eight.
New Ross Standard