Hibs win Foyle Cup after nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory over Stockport

Hibs have won the Foyle Cup in Northern Ireland, four years after the club’s last success at the tournament.
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The Easter Road side – who competed in the under-15 section of the tournament but are classed as the under-16s in the club’s academy – are coached by James McDonaugh and Tony Begg, and progressed through the group qualifiers on goal difference following games against Oxford United, Cookstown, and Lagan Harps before defeating Dunfermline Athletic in the quarter-finals and Willow Park in the semis.

The wee Hibees then faced Stockport Dynamoes in the final and defeated them on penalties after a drawn game in normal time.

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Games lasted for an hour, with 30-minute halves, Hibs required to play three group games to have a chance of progression.

The Capital club needed a late penalty from Rory Whittaker to salvage a point in the first game following a see-saw match with Oxford. Hibs took the lead through Joseph McGrath’s header from a Jamie McMurdo corner after the U’s had earlier missed a penalty, but the English side scored twice in quick succession late on to turn the game on its head. McMurdo was then fouled in the box, with Whittaker converting the spot-kick to earn a point.

Hibs posted a 6-1 victory over Cookstown of Tyrone in the second group game, Josh Landers and Andrew Logan scoring twice and Flynn McCafferty and Riley Lightfoot adding a goal apiece, and needed a 12-goal swing in their final group game against Lagan Harps to advance to the knock-out stages.

A Landers hat-trick plus doubles from Logan, McCafferty, and McGrath was supplemented by strikes from McMurdo and Dean Cleland plus two own-goals to give Hibs the desired result.

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The quarter-final was an all-Scottish affair and Dunfermline scored either side of half-time to take a 2-0 lead, but Landers reduced the deficit with 12 minutes remaining and another Whittaker penalty following a foul on Cleland hauled Hibs level with two minutes remaining before Cleland snatched the winner at the death.

The victorious Hibs U15 team following their Foyle Cup successThe victorious Hibs U15 team following their Foyle Cup success
The victorious Hibs U15 team following their Foyle Cup success

On the same day in the last four Hibs met Willow Park of Athlone and goals from Cleland, Landers, McMurdo, and another Whittaker penalty gave the Edinburgh side a commanding lead before the Irish outfit scored a late consolation.

The final paired Hibs with Stockport Dynamoes and Landers put them in front until the midway point. Stockport scored twice early in the second half through penalties, but McGrath got on the end of an Owen Calder free kick with two minutes remaining to level the tie.

With no further scoring a shoot-out was needed to determine the winners. Stockport hit the bar with their first penalty, with Whittaker converting the first for Hibs.

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Stockport found the net their second and McCafferty did likewise for the Hibees. Goalkeeper Ryan Mallon then saved Stockport’s third and Landers converted to make it 3-1 to the Capital club.

The English side scored with their fourth attempt but Logan made no mistake with the deciding penalty to secure a 4-2 victory for Hibs.

Hibs squad: Ryan Mallon (GK), Samuel Tene (GK); Rory Whittaker, Sean Brannen, Owen Calder, Joseph McGrath, Dean Cleland, Zach Bruce, Andrew Logan, Josh Landers, Flynn McCafferty, Jamie McMurdo, Cormac Christie, Riley Lightfoot, Caelan McCrone, Anestis Chatzidimitriou