USHER CELTIC ….5 COURTOWN HIBS…..2
IF they didn’t already know each other well enough, Usher Celtic and Oliver Bond Celtic now have a double date with destiny after Wes Doyle’s side cruised past Courtown Hibs with a hat-tick from Graham Curran and a brace from Jordan Buckley at Roseglen Road on Sunday afternoon.
Already paired in the FAI New Balance Junior Cup semi-final, Usher cleared the way to a second meeting in the O’Neills Leinster Junior Cup semi-final with an impressive quarter-final display at the home of Kilbarrack United as the Wexfordmen got up close and personal with the Leinster Senior League side.
By EAMON SCOTT
In the absence of injured Steo Donnelly, Curran has deputised in the number 10 role as support to FAI Three Junior international Player of the Year Jordan Buckley and it was that combination that gelled superbly and delivered the goals when it mattered.
Manager Wes Doyle explained post-match the value of Curran’s versatility to the side and said: “He can play anywhere – in defence, midfield or up front. He told me he was happy to go up front and it’s not that I’m a genius as a manager, it’s more that Graham is a brilliant footballer and he gives you so much.”
The Roseglen Road is a bigger pitch than their traditional Grangegorman home and that additional space makes Usher a more potent and effective force and their inherent pace and skill was able to exploit the brilliant all-weather facility.
Usher hit the front as early as the sixth minute with a brilliantly weighted ball out of defence from Sean Martin saw Jordan Buckley latch onto the delivery and he cheekily nut-megged the advancing Jason Maguire as he bore down on goal from an acute angle.
The same right flank was to produce the second goal on 34 minutes when a ball over the top set Buckley free and he burned Dylan Fleming for pace and then delivered a square ball for the inrushing Curran to smash the ball home.
Courtown were no mugs and they put some clever passing movements together without ever really threatening Silviu Viodocl’s goal. Their cause wasn’t helped when they lost midfielder Luke Green who was injured in a tackle and he limped out of the game midway through the opening half.
With both teams emboldened by their respective management teamtalk as the second half commenced it was the ‘home’ side who made the game safe with 60 seconds of the restart with Martin snapping it to win a tackle and Curran rampaging through the Courtown rearguard as he latched onto a gloriously weighted pass with the outside of his right foot from Buckley to slip the ball past Maguire to the delight of his team mates.
Courtown kept plugging away and a break down the left flank from overlapping fullback Dane Galway saw the ball crossed into the box and under pressure from Glen Hughes the ball went in off Darren McDonnell to reduce the deficit to 3-1.
Back came Usher – who had been very solid across the back and industrious in the middle of the park where Sean Martin and Calvin Douglas showed a great hunger throughout, and the mounting pressure saw Curran finish off his hat-trick with a clinical finish getting to the ball ahead of two covering Courtown defenders.
Four-one up and cruising, Jorden Buckley showed just why he is the FAI ‘3’ Junior International Player of the Year with a sumptuous finish crashing the ball home from the edge of the box with a thunderous looping volley in the 83rd minute.
Hibs did reduce the deficit to 5-2 when their best player Matty Kavanagh finishing from the penalty spot as the visitors put a little bit more respectability on the scoreline, but truth was, Usher were the better side for the bulk of the encounter and had they of converted half the chances they created, they would have been well out of sight by the time of referee Gary Leeper’s final whistle.
Oliver Bond boss Eddie Keogh along with birthday boy and team coach Maxi McCann were more than interested spectators.
With Steo Donnelly making good progress and the likes of Bucko in outrageously good form, the OBC Think Tank will have to come up with some masterplan to stop the march of Usher. Some game(s) to look forward to and with Bucko and manager Wes Doyle living in the OBC Flats Complex, it will surely make for some lively Dublin banter in the build-up.
It all adds up to a brilliant climax for the two clubs – big games to win and big games to lose. When two tribes go to war……
USHER CELTIC: Silviu Viodocl; Stephen Doyle, Darren McDonnell, Robert Martin, Leroy Staunton, Sean Martin, Gerard Jordan, Calvn Douglas, Jordan Buckley, Graham Curran, Wayne Walker. Subs: Jonathan Long, Derek Flood, Anthony Crowe, Fintan Kennedy, Stephen Donnelly, Karl Lynam.
COURTOWN HIBS: Jason Maguire; Dave Galway, James Fleming, Col Kinsella, Dylan Fleming, Jack O’Brien, Matty Kavanagh, Luke Greene, Michael Kinsella, Glen Hughes, Colm O’Brien, Subs: Jack Freegrove, Cormac Moore, Wes Fitzpatrick, Troy Murphy, Des Wolohan, Wayne O’Reilly, Migor Garcel.
Referee Gary Leeper.