Archive for the ‘ Hibernian ’ Category

Hibernian look to build on crucial win as the search for new faces continues

On a grey Fife afternoon, Fenlon’s Hibernian claimed a vital 3-2 victory over bottom placed Dunfermline to give the capital side a four point cushion above the foot of the table. The sizeable Hibs travelling support, which filled the 3,000 capacity away stand and forced Dunfermline to re-open their North Stand to accommodate the swelling ranks of green and white behind the goal, suggested the gravity of the tie which many billed as the game of the weekend.

The fixture did not disappoint, as two teams struggling to find form served up a highly entertaining and hard-fought match filled with drama. It was Hibernian who again found themselves chasing an early defecit, as Andy Kirk ghosted by the Hibs defence to nod home for Dunfermline. Yet Hibs began to find their feet as the half went on. Isiaah Osbourne left the ball as it passed him in the air, allowing Leigh Griffiths in behind the home defence to slot home and bring the Edinburgh side level.
Into the second half, and Hibernian pressed on the counter. Fenlon showed his desire to take the full three points from the game, replacing David Wotherspoon for Hibs’ top scorer Garry O’Connor. The substitution paid off, as the former Lokomotiv Moscow and Birmingham City frontman drove the ball into the top corner after a lay-off from Leigh Griffiths on 75 minutes. Dunfermline, however, did not seem to be disheartened by going behind. Despite some dogged individual performances in the Hibs defence, the home side broke through to level the tie at 2-2 on 81 minutes.
Just as it seemed Fenlon’s Hibernian had thrown away the chance of such a crucial win, the Hibs fans amassed behind the goal were sent into delerium barely two minutes after their side had lost the lead. Lewis Stevenson fed the ball towards Griffiths, who shirked off the attentions of the home defence and fired a low shot in at goal which managed to escape the clutches of the Dunfermline keeper before finding the net. A typically nervy finish ensued, though the Leith side held on to claim their first league win since October.
Hibernian have sought to bolster their side through the acquisiton of Norwich City right-back George Francomb on a six month loan signing. With Akpo Sodje being the latest player to be released by the club, Fenlon has been working hard to get new faces at the club, yet signings other than 20 year old Francomb and 23 year old Irishman Eoin Doyle have been unforthcoming.
“We have identified and are talking to some who will improve us, whether we get them or not will depend on other teams”, Fenlon told the BBC. One of these appears to be Arsenal’s Rhys Murphy, who is reported to be currently on trial with the Edinburgh side, as well as St Mirren midfielder and fellow Irishman Jim Goodwin.
Hibs return home to Easter Road this weekend and Fenlon will be looking to capitalise on the momentum generated by the last two consecutive wins. Fourth-placed St Johnstone are the visitors this Saturday and will provide tough opposition given their impressive form this season.

A Trip Back In Time

I’ve been to a lot of grounds in Scotland but Saturday was my first trip to the proverbial “One horse town” known as Cowdenbeath. Hibs had drawn the ‘Blue Brazil’ in the Scottish Cup.I had managed to wangle a free ticket from a fellow kind Hibee from the excellent website ‘Hibees Bounce’. Nice one.

The ground itself is an eye opener to say the least. 2 ramshackle stands, terracing that belongs in the past, a (what looked like) pigeon hut in one corner, and a ( I kid you not) a stock car racing track surrounding a tattie field of a pitch. One look at the place and I thought “the Hibs players are in for a shock when they take to the park.”With an Arctic blast blowing all afternoon there was no shelter on the terracing from it’s icy grip. It must have been terrible for both teams to play in. However they managed to provide the 2600 odd crowd with a Cup cracker.

Hibs went one down within 16 seconds. The 2000 Hibees groaned collectively. “Here we go again” we’re all thinking. Hibs didn’t let the goal get to them though. Slowly they got into their stride and started to dominate. 3 cracking goals from Griffiths, new boy Doyle (I like the look of this lad) and Spoony had us on easy street. But this is Hibs, we do things the hard way, and with 20 minutes to go Beath scored again (a sublime goal) to set up a nervy ending to the match.

3-2 Final Score, and the main thing is the ‘Cabbage’ are through to the next round.I wonder who we will get when the draw is made on Monday? Fingers crossed for a home tie against lower league opposition, though to be fair, these clubs will probably want Hibs as we are an easy touch at the moment. But at least we are there and I have faith in Nutsy in turning us around.

Fenlon claims first Hibs win

This weekend provided a break from league action as the Scottish Cup reached the fourth round stage. Hibs were handed a tough test at the Fife home of 2nd Division leaders Cowdenbeath. A dismal recent record and languishing a point above bottom placed Dunfermline in the Scottish Premier League, it was the top flight side whom many expected would struggle.

Hibs have had a troubled relationship with the Scottish Cup throughout the club’s 137 year history. This is a tournament – the oldest national cup in world football – that the Edinburgh side have failed to win since 1902. In their last two campaigns in this competition Hibs have met their fate at the hands of lower league opponents. A trip to First Division Ross County under then manager John Hughes in 2010 resulted in a premature end to that season’s cup run, with a similar end being suffered by Colin Calderwood’s Hibs side in 2011 after an away defeat again to a First Division side, Ayr United.

Yet Hibs supporters hoped that their team would not suffer the same outcome under new boss Pat Fenlon, despite a home defeat to local rivals Hearts in their last league outing. The meticulous Fenlon has taken a robust approach to the squad he has inherited, having already dropped Aggogo and Thornhill from the side, with more expected to follow. Striker Leigh Griffiths has had his loan spell from Wolves extended and, in the first real indication of Fenlon’s vision for his Hibernian side, Irishman Eoin Doyle has joined the club from Sligo Rovers who made his first start at Saturday’s fixture.

However, it took just 19 seconds for Hibs’ recent woes to be compounded. The second division side scored in their first surge forward, with Greg Stewart easily outmanoeuvring Sean O’Hanlon on the turn before finishing past the Hibs keeper. An upset appeared to be on the cards. Despite this early setback, the SPL side began to gain a foothold in the game. On the 18th minute Cowdenbeath player-manager Colin Cameron gifted possession away in their own half, with the former Hearts man allowing Leigh Griffiths to fire a rasping shot from 25 yards that clipped the inside of the crossbar before finding the net.

With the tie level, it was Hibernian who pressed forward. Doyle posed a threat to the Cowdenbeath defence, forcing a save with a curled shot from the edge of the box. Just shy of the half-hour mark, the former Sligo Rovers hitman opened his goalscoring account with his new club. Michael Hart’s pass found the Irishman in the 6 yard box who slotted home on the rebound after his first attempt was blocked by Cowdenbeath keeper Thomas Flynn.

Doyle again asked questions of the home defence, with a scrambled clearance off the goal line after a deft head flick from Hibs’ new number 10. Griffith’s sublime first strike was almost imitated, though the long range free kick found the wrong side of the crossbar this time. Hibs extended their lead in the second half after Danny Galbraith proved elusive for the home defence on the flank, the resulting cross being met at the near post by the head of David Wotherspoon to bring the Capital side’s tally to three.

Yet a nervy finish was ensured after Cowdenbeath struck again. John Robertson showed great individual skill and composure to chip a ball over Hibs defender O’Hanlon before striking a neat volley to finish. The young forward was presented with a opportunity to draw the home side level not long after, with Hibs looking like the tie could slip away from them. Robertson’s sliced shot went way adrift of the target, resulting in a collective sigh of relief from Hibs supporters at the game and listening at home across the country as the Edinburgh side ensured a place in the next round and Fenlon earned his first victory as manager of Hibernian.

Ahead of the next round of the Scottish Cup, there are much more pressing issues at hand. Another visit to Fife beckons for Fenlon’s side, who face Dunfermline Athletic in a game that could well determine how the rest of the season will follow for two teams eager to retain their SPL status. Fenlon will hope to take some confidence from Saturday’s cup success, though a tough task remains ahead for the Irishman if Hibs are to reverse their fortunes in the SPL.

Fenlon Seeks To Make Sligo Striker His First Signing

Sligo Rovers are hoping to keep hotshot Eoin Doyle after confirming Hibernian are keen to sign the striker on a free transfer.

Doyle’s contract at FAI Cup winners Sligo has expired and it has been reported that the 23-year-old has been training with SPL side Hibs, where it is believed he took part in a behind closed doors friendly yesterday.

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon, who formerly managed Bohemians, is now weighing up whether to add Doyle to his squad when the January transfer window reopens.

“Pat Fenlon has come in for him and it’s definitely something Eoin is interested in,” said Sligo spokesman Keith O’Dwyer in the Daily Record.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure he is going to sign and we would not give up hope that we can sign him for next year because he is a huge player for us.

“However, as Eoin is not a contracted player, he is entitled to seek fresh moves.

“Pat knows our manager Paul Cook very well so I would imagine he will have called him about this.”

Sligo have already drafted in numerous stars in the striking department with Mark Quigley moving from Dundalk and Danny North from St Patricks Athletic.

Fenlon Seeks To Reignite Hibs

Pat Fenlon takes his first step into the dugout tonight as Hibernian manager as they travel to Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.

Former Bohemians supremo Fenlon has had a week to get used to his new surroundings and has brought in his trusted assistant Liam O`Brien as he seeks to get to grips with life outside the League of Ireland.

Fenlon`s first task will be to lift an ailing Hibs side who are languishing in 9th position having only won three games all season under the guidance of Colin Calderwood.

Hibs have a full strength line up to choose from although Ian Murray will not be risked.

The Leith side will be hoping star striker Garry O`Connor can return to goalscoring form having notched seven goals already this term. O’Connor is poised to resume first team duties after missing the defeat at St Johnstone with a throat infection and boss Fenlon believes the striker is an important player at Hibernian.

He added: “He’s a big player. He started the season on fire and scored a lot of goals. When he’s not in the team, he’s a big loss.

“Physically he’s a big player for the club, but mentally he is also a big player and someone who we need around the place.

“We need someone around who is going to score goals, so it is good to have him back.”

Fenlon will be looking to hit the ground running as he aims to steer the Edinburgh club into the top half of the table. He said: “People here have got to realise – from the staff to everybody at the club, the players included – that you’ve got to win football matches at the end of the day.

Hibernian-The Lost Connection

Hibernian football club, founded in 1875, is a very unique football club whose inception as a club tells a tale of how two communities, from different countries, came to grow into one.

The origins of the Hibees interested the Edinburgh natives and indeed natives of Leith, the suburb in which they boast their famous Easter Road stadium. However the beginnings of Hibernian owe their roots to Ireland and its emigrants who settled in the Cowgate area of the city in the 1800s.The club, whose name reflects a common association with Ireland, is very much a reward for all associated with the successful integration of Irish people into the Scottish capital. 

During the 1800s a large number of Irish left home for Scotland, with the majority preferring to locate themselves in Glasgow and only a handful moving to Edinburgh. The Cowgate would become known as “Little Ireland”, as statistics in 1821 proved that 12 000 Irish were resident there. The area was well deprived and run down, it was home to some of the poorest slums in the world. While work was not widely available, most Irish opted to join the Scottish army, but a handful set about installing a belief of community in a different manner.

The St Patrick’s Church in Cowgate had founded a Catholic Youth Mens Society(CYMS) in 1865.The Irish community was not integrated into the wider Edinburgh community, but Canon Edward Hannon was looking for a way to achieve this. Michael Whelehan, an emigrant from Roscommon suggested to Canon Hannon that the CYMS should form its own football club. In a meeting on 6 August 1875, Hibernians was founded, with Canon Hannon as its first manager and Whelahan as its first captain. They adopted the harp as the official club crest and decided on a motto to unite all, Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever). .

The club struggled to achieve league status, after appealing to the Scottish Football Association they were told that the FA were catering for Scotsmen and not Irishmen. Fierce rivals Hearts did Hibs a favour in 1875 by playing them, despite the fact that the FA had said no club should play “the Irish club”. This further boosted Hibs chances of joining the league.At the outset only members of CYMS could play for Hibs but the club folded in 1891, when they reformed a year later this policy changed and they dropped the S in their name. The Irish immigrants now had the heart within their community, and a heart that would allow for greater integration with their Scottish counterparts.

The club model adopted by Hannan and Whelehan was followed by Irish emigrants in the cities of Dundee and Glasgow, with the foundation of Dundee Harp (1879),Glasgow Celtic (1888) and Dundee Hibernian(1909-later became known as Dundee United)
All the clubs boasted some resemblance to the Hibees.  Fast forward to the modern day and the green hooped jersey is what many attribute to Celtic; however it was Hibs who originally wore the jersey first. Likewise the Edinburgh club were originally known as The Bhoys, a modern day nickname for the Parkhead club. Likewise the Dundee clubs both adopted the green, a colour best associated with Ireland but when Dundee Hibernian became Dundee United in 1923 they dropped the green jersey.

Into 2009 and things are quite different, as they have been for decades. Celtic are now the best supported team in Ireland and Hibs don’t boast much of a following on the green isle. Hibs are not seen today as being an Irish or Roman Catholic institution as it was in the early years of its history. For instance, the Irish harp was only re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000. This design reflects the three pillars of the club’s identity -Ireland, Edinburgh (the castle) and Leith (the ship). Geography rather than religion is now seen as the primary reason for supporting Hibs, [who draw most of their support from the north and east of Edinburgh.

Is it Hibs fault that they are not as popular here? Celtic are seen as the team to follow, if your Catholic or Irish it is most probable that you are a Celt, such are the Irish links with the club. In a similar manner by which Hibs boast a harp on their crest, Celtic boast a shamrock, another traditional symbol associated with Ireland, on theirs.

Celtic are the club that have always had the financial power to win league titles whereas Hibs, four time league winners, are more reliant on their youth academy to produce players. While Hibs have a very successful youth structure, they are getting ever closer to Celtic as the money men in Scottish football are not putting the money in any longer. Indeed all Scottish clubs will be soon be operating off a similar level to the Old Firm, as Both Celtic and Rangers are suffering in the current economic climate.
Is it arguable that Hibs, who were seen as the first sectarian club, have lost their Irish fanbase to Celtic by dropping their somewhat sectarian stance? It is a valid point to ponder. Religion plays an important role in Scottish football, just ask any Celtic or Rangers fan and thus it gives rise to sectarianism abuse, something the Edinburgh club does not want to be associated with. Their desire to be far removed from the realms of sectarianism has seen their fanbase in Ireland decline, but it has left them with a solid reputation as a pure football fraternity.

Perhaps its Celtic`s very successful marketing machine and indeed their success on the pitch, that has seen their vast fan base grow. There is no obvious reason as to why the popularity of the Glasgow club is much bigger than their Edinburgh counterparts, who paved the way for their foundation.  Hibs were regularly invited to play in Glasgow before Celtic were founded by brother Walfred, who founded the Parkhead based club in 1888.He founded Celtic with the belief that Glasgow’s  large Irish population could lead to a similar success story and he was right. John Glass was the clubs financial backer at the time and he initiated a degree of professionalism in Scottish football by enticing Hibs players to Celtic with the offer of lucrative wages. This severely affected the Hibees who went into major decline, while the Celts won four league titles during the 1890s.   

Will the Hibees evergreen contingent of  Liam Miller, Graham Stack and young hitman  Kurtis Byrne help Irish fans rediscover their long lost connection with the Edinburgh Club?
Is originality not the essence of our support? Irregardless as to whether it is or not, the Irish people who support football in Scotland should give the Hibees more consideration when deciding who to follow.

By Glenn Dowd

The Irish Abroad

It is estimated that there are 70 million people in the world who claim to be Irish or who claim Irish origins or roots; did you know that? The spread of Irish people reaches every corner of the globe. While we are not viewed as a top football country, we hold a claim that wherever we travel we bring football with us. Here are elements of Irishness in world football that may come as a surprise to you.

Hibernian FC (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Hibs were the brain child of Cannon Edward Hannon and Michael Whelehan, who were members of the Catholic Youth Men`s Society. They were looking for a mechanism that would integrate the strong Irish population in the city with that of the natives. Whelehan put the idea of a football team to Hannon and this laid the foundation for the creation of Hibs.
The Cowgate area of the city, effectively known as “Little Ireland” was home to 12 000 Irish emigrants and in 1875 they were given a sense of community with the birth of the Hibees.  Hannon and Roscommon native Whelehan had established a model that would be followed in other Scottish cities.

Celtic FC (Glasgow, Scotland)

Glasgow boasted a far greater Irish population than Edinburgh during the late 1800`s.Brother Walfrid was an Irish Marist brother based in the city and was desperately trying to ease the plight of the Irish immigrants.
Walfrid was a keen fan of the Hibs model and had invited them to play in Glasgow on a few occasions, before deciding that the Irish population was so strong that they could have their own team. Thus, Celtic were born in 1888.To this very day the club maintain strong links with Ireland and boasts vast support there.

St Mirren FC (Paisley, Scotland)
St Mirren was founded in 1877 as a gentleman`s club boasting a variety of games including football, rugby and cricket. The club is named after Saint Mirren or Mirin who is the patron saint of Paisley.
Saint Mirren was born in Ireland and went to the monastery at Bangor Abbey in County Down. He became prior there and sought to spread the Christian Faith. His travels brought him to Scotland where under the leadership of St Regulus he brought the gospel to the west of Scotland. This is the only link the club has to the Emerald Isle.

Dundee United (Dundee, Scotland)
The last of the Irish links with Scottish teams takes us to Dundee United. Dundee United was founded originally in 1909 as Dundee Hibernian, an acknowledgement of the successful Hibees in Edinburgh. Dundee Harp had existed in the city from 1879 until 1897 but then the strong Irish population in the city needed a new club.
The club is known as the Tangerines, in reflection of the colour of the jerseys. When they originally founded they wore the traditional green and white hoops first used by Hibernian. A change of name in 1923 brought about a change of colour. The club was seen originally as a catholic outfit but have moved away from that. The only connection that the club still boast with Ireland is the Irish players they currently have amongst their ranks.

UD Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
The club were originally founded by Irish students in 1907 although they now claim their official year of foundation to be 1923. Not much is known about their Irish links but they set a trend that few Irish men would follow. Patrick O’Connell became manager of Racing Santander in 1922 and in recent times Kevin Moran (joined Sporting Gijon in 1988), Ian Harte (joined Levante in 2004) and Steve Finnan (joined Espanyol in 2008) have ventured to Spain in search of glory.

Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Velez Sarsfield are based in the Liniers neighbourhood of western Buenos Aires. The club was founded in 1910 and boast a rich and successful history, having won 7 titles to date, their most recent been in 2009. The club are named after Dalmacio Velez Sarsfield who was an Argentine Lawyer and politician of Irish descent. He wrote the Argentine civil code of 1869, which founded civil law within the country. 

Club Deportivo O’Higgins (Rancagua, Chile)

The Chilean club was founded in 1955 and were named after Bernardo O’Higgins, who was a South American independence leader, who helped free the country from Spanish rule. The club boast a tri colour as their crest in recognition of O`Higgins who was born in Chillàn to an Irish Father. His father was Ambrosio O’Higgins, a Spanish officer who was born in Ballynary, County Sligo.  Bernardo never met his father who was governor of Chile from 1788 until 1796 when he became the Viceroy of Peru.

St Patrick FC (Zabbar, Malta)

Originally known as Zabbar United from 1935, the club opted to change their name to St Patrick Fc.  This was in order to associate themselves with independence seekers, who sought to break free from the English hold over the country.  The club who currently play in the top flight of Maltese football boast a shamrock on their crest; this is an indirect link to Ireland.

Floriana FC (Floriana, Malta)
Floriana were founded in 1894 and are nicknamed The Irish, as they wear green and white. These colours were adopted in 1905 as at that time the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were stationed in the city. The regiment played Floriana three times that year in friendlies and they swapped shirts. The officials of the Fusiliers expressed their wish to see Floriana wear their colours and this is how it came into force.
The club were recently managed by former Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers manager Roddy Collins. They also boast a link with Shamrock Rovers.  

Montreal Impact (Montreal, Canada)
The club was originally known as Montreal Supra from 1988-1992 before it went out of business. The impact club was founded in 1993 to give Montreal a football team they so dearly craved.
The original club, Montreal Supra, were founded by the Montreal Hibernian society. The club itself emerged from the shadows of an older club, Montreal Hibernians, and the Irish population in the city had been strong for over a century.  The club also boasted top GAA and rugby teams.

Panathinaikos (Athens, Greece)
The club was founded in 1908 but while they boast a shamrock as their crest and wear a green jersey, they have no real Irish connection.

Guillermo Brown (Argentina)
Guillermo or William Brown was born in Foxford, County Mayo in 1777.He is regarded as a national hero in Argentina for helping win victories in the Argentine war of independence and he is also known as the father of the Argentine navy.  Four clubs exist in his honour. Club Atletico Almirante Brown was founded in 1917 in the town of Arrecifes. They compete in the Liga de futbol de Arrecifes.

Club Almirante Brown de Isidro Casanova were founded in 1922 in Isidro Casanova. They play in the Primera B Metropolitana. Brown Athletic Club were founded in Adroguè in 1945 as a multi sports club. They have never played in the Primera division.  Club Social Y Guillermo Brown or Guillermo Brown for short is a football team from Puerto Madryn in Chubut. Also founded in 1945, they play in the third tier of the Argentine league. 

By Glenn Dowd