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Posts Tagged ‘ Matt Doherty ’

Irish Under 21’s Seek Big Win In Montenegro

noelking

The Republic of Ireland U21 side face a tough test in UEFA U21 Championships Qualifying Round Group Six tomorrow when they meet Montenegro in Podgorica (4pm Irish time).

Noel King’s side drew level with the Montenegrins in second place in the group on Friday  when the Irish beat the Faroe Islands 5-2 in Sligo while Montenegro drew 1-1 with Germany.

The Irish head coach knows that a victory in this fixture could have a massive influence on Ireland’s chances of sealing second place and potentially a play-off spot for a place in the finals.  Continue reading

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King Forced To Replace Duo For German Clash

Noel-King-Ireland-Under-21

REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 Head Coach Noel King has been forced to make two changes to his squad for Monday’s UEFA U21 Championships qualifying round clash with Germany in Sligo.

QPR’s Frankie Sutherland and Bristol City defender Derrick Williams both suffered injuries on club duty in midweek and King has drafted in Derry City’s Barry McNamee and Aston Villa’s Graham Burke.

“It’s unfortunate to lose Frankie and Derrick but Barry and Graham have been in with us before and are very good players whose versatility is important,” said King.  Continue reading

Can ‘Fenlon Factor’ Send Hibs Top Of The SPL?

Few, if any Hibs fans leaving Hampden on 19 May would have predicted that their team would be top of the SPL in November, but that is a strong possibility this weekend when Pat Fenlon’s revamped side take on St Mirren at Easter Road knowing that victory would see them overtake Celtic and (depending on other results) take over top spot.

It’s been a busy few months for manager Fenlon who has not only changed the playing staff, but equally important the attitude of the players.

The 5-1 defeat to city neighbours Hearts went down in the record books as one of the darkest days in the club’s history, and afterwards, Fenlon insisted that he could tell which players were ‘hurting’ and those who were not would soon be seeking employment elsewhere.

The news of certain players drinking in a city centre nightclub after the game only fuelled the anger felt by the long suffering supporters who were disgusted by the lack of fight in the team.

During the summer months, Fenlon went about his business with quiet dignity and brought in several new faces to boost his squad. The former Bohs manager made sure that his new signings were of the right ‘character’ to satisfy the fans.

Crowds had dropped to an alarming level under the Colin Calderwood era, and Chairman Rod Petrie would soon learn that once fans stop going, it’s a difficult task to entice them back.

At least the cup final ticket process ensured that many fans purchased a season ticket when they would not normally have done so, and this has resulted in just over 8000 being sold. This has allowed Fenlon to bring in many of his targets.

Of the cup final team, only James McPake, Paul Hanlon, Jorge Carlos and Leigh Griffiths are regular starters.

The first task was to bring back fans’ favourite James McPake from Coventry on a permanent deal and Leigh Griffiths back on loan from Wolves.

Goalkeepers, Graham Stack and Mark Brown were released and replaced by former Manchester United youth keeper Ben Williams who has been a commanding presence in the back four.

Irishman Tim Clancy moved from third placed Motherwell and replaced fellow countryman Matt Doherty who infuriated fans during a post-match interview when he appeared to ‘scoff’ at the prospect of returning to Easter Road.

At left back, Fenlon replaced Pa Kujabi with Irish international Alan Maybury which initially caused a few raised eyebrows in the city given his background with Hearts. A mistake in his debut which allowed Hearts to take the lead was soon forgotten and his steady performances since have impressed the fans although he has since lost his place to Ryan McGivern who is on-loan from Manchester City. Maybury however remains a valuable member of the squad.

In midfield, Jorge Claros is now starting to find the form many expected when he signed and much of that is due to his wife and family moving to Edinburgh, and David Wotherspoon who did not even make the cup final squad has regained the form which impressed so many when he first broke through.

New signings Paul Cairney from Partick Thistle and Gary Deegan have both become firm favourites with the Easter Road faithful, and Eoin Doyle is more than justifying the manager’s faith in him which saw him become Fenlon’s first signing for the club. His partnership with Griffiths has proved to be a productive one.

Experienced striker Shefki Kuqi was also brought into the squad and although the Finnish international has yet to score, Fenlon is happy that his attitude and experience will help the younger players, particularly teenage strikers Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling who are both normally on the bench along with midfield prospect Sam Stanton and Lewis Stevenson.

At the start of the campaign, the aim of many fans was to see Hibs in the top six; however the Fenlon factor now means that this is the minimum they expect and European football at Easter Road next year is a genuine possibility.

Photograph by http://www.jcmackintosh.co.uk

Fenlon Issues Rallying Call To Hibs Fans

On the day that Hibs launched their new home strip for next season, boss Pat Fenlon has issued a rallying call to all fans, urging them to increase his budget by buying a season ticket. The club has promised that all money raised by the sale of season tickets will be given to the manager to improve the squad, but numbers to date have been disappointing.

Last season, the board allowed existing season ticket holders to only buy one ticket for the cup final, unless they renewed, whilst new season ticket holders would also be allowed to purchase one. Club members who paid £20 to register and were given a free ticket to an SPL fixture were also entitled to buy one and this caused some resentment from a number of fans who felt they were being blackmailed into renewing.

Rumours that Hibs had sold over 11,000 season tickets for the current campaign however were quashed at a recent meeting between fans and the board when the directors admitted that the numbers were 2,000 down on last years’ figure of 7,000.

Fenlon confirmed this in a message on the club’s website as he pleaded for fans to back his plans to return the club to the top end of the league.

Fenlon has admitted that 2,500 have so far not renewed, reducing his budget by nearly £600k and limiting the number and quality of players he can entice to Easter Road. So far, only Trim born Tim Clancy has arrived from Motherwell to replace former Bohemians full back Matt Doherty who returned to Wolves after his loan spell ended.

Fenlon said: “This summer has already seen the landscape of Scottish football change and we are working harder than ever to make sure we transform the results of Hibernian for the better. Our thanks go to everyone who has already shown their commitment to the club by investing in a 2012/13 Season Ticket Membership; your actions have been greatly appreciated.

“So far this summer we’ve managed to get one of my top signing targets over the line with the arrival of Tim Clancy.  But there is much more left to do on the transfer front and now we need the backing of our supporters more than ever.

“We are a club that tries to do things the right way; we don’t spend money that we don’t have. Given the uncertainty surrounding the SPL for next season, we certainly can’t spend what we don’t have and simply cross our fingers in hope that it will come later.

“My budget for next season is based on Season Tickets actually sold, not what we might sell. I know that I will get access to every single penny that comes into the club through new Season Ticket sales. So the commitment and faith of our supporters will determine just how much I have to spend on players ahead of the new season.

“Thanks to all of those, who were able to and have bought a Season Ticket for next season. We hope that the 2,500 Season Ticket Members from last season, who have still yet to commit will renew in good time and we would welcome them back.

“I know there are lots of seats at Easter Road Stadium. But we cannot make binding commitments to players hoping that there will be a decent walk up.

“Please don’t wait to see what will happen or who we will sign, you can make an immediate impact on my transfer budget by investing now on a Season Ticket.

“I’m excited about what we can achieve here at Hibernian and we want our supporters to share those aspirations; working together to achieve the same goal. After some hard times, we’re confident about what can be achieved in the future. We want to be a club that you can be proud of, one that goes about its business professionally and acts with integrity.

“It’s a summer of change in Scottish football and a summer of change at the club. I need your help to rebuild and reshape our squad. Your commitment can and does make a huge impact on how we move forward as a club.

“Do we have ambition? Yes, absolutely. Do we have a war chest of money to spend on players? No. But we do plan to use our funds wisely to assemble a squad that is more than competitive next season. The funding provided by Season Ticket Members will go a long way to changing the dynamics of our squad.

“We no longer want to be seen as a soft touch. We want players wearing the Hibernian jersey, who are willing to give everything to the club and that excite our supporters.

“We want strong-minded players, who will play their part in improving the team – showing the right attitude and application. Representing the club the right way and connecting with the Easter Road crowd.

“To everyone who is undecided, I would say please don’t wait to see what will happen or who we will sign. You can make an immediate impact on my transfer budget by investing now on a Season Ticket Membership.  This summer we want to change our fortunes for the better and we need our supporters on board for the journey ahead.”

Over one hundred fans queued in the rain to get their hands on the new top which was unveiled at the club shop at midday. The top is manufactured by Puma and is a modern interpretation of the original bottle green worn by players before the change to the lighter emerald green in the 1930s. The jersey continues to bare the name of last season’s sponsors; Leith based company Crabbies who sell alcoholic ginger beer.

When the shutters went up, the general opinion amongst the supporters was positive, and an improvement on last years ‘down the slope’ design.  Within half an hour, the shop was full as customers continued to arrive.

Meanwhile, Hibs have announced the departure of assistant manager Billy Brown and director Fife Hyland with immediate effect. This is likely to result in Liam O’Brien taking over as Fenlon’s number two for next season.

Irish Duo Leave Hibs

Former Republic of Ireland under 21 goalkeeper Graham Stack has become the latest Hibs player to leave the club after he was notified that his contract will not be extended. The 30 year old was signed by John Hughes three years ago, but a series of injuries have resulted in him only playing 61 times.

This season, he finally became the number one choice, taking over from Mark Brown, but a torn thigh muscle sustained in the semi-final against Aberdeen ended his Easter Road career and meant that he missed the Cup Final defeat last Saturday.

The former Arsenal player was a popular figure around the club and messaged his disappointment to fans via Facebook saying: “After 3 seasons at Hibernian I’m sad and gutted to have played my last game. It’s a Club that me and my Family have loved from day one and a City that’s became our home. Fans I’ve met along the way have been brilliant and will not be forgotten

“Those who have stuck by me through my injuries and picked me up when things on the pitch were bad i can’t thank you enough. It’s been a mixed journey of ups and downs, finishing 4th in my first season and getting into Europe was a real high as well reaching the Scottish Cup final more recently and saving a penalty in the Derby at Easter Rd.

“My biggest regret is to have not won any Silverware and missing so much football in my second season. I’d like to think having played 35 games this season I’ve shown people i can stay fit and played my part in keeping us up. I’ve now got to move on with my life and career and have no idea where it will go but one thing is for sure i can leave knowing whenever I’ve put the Hibs strip on I’ve given nothing less than everything to perform at my best and win every game!

“ I know everyone is still hurting after the weekend but i firmly believe it is a ”Great Club” and changes do need to be made but in years to come it will achieve a top 3 finish and will win The Scottish Cup and no one deserves it more than the supporters!! Thanks for everything STACKY and FAMILY X X X”

Stack’s exit was confirmed 24 hours after Hibs released club captain Ian Murray and young players Scott Taggart and Sean Welsh.

Garry O’Connor who is also out of contract has confirmed that he will not be signing an extension, whilst loan players George Francombe, Matt Doherty, Roy O’Donovan, Tom Soares, Richie Towell, Leigh Griffiths and James McPake have all returned to their parent clubs.

Fenlon has indicated that he may be talking to some of their clubs when the players concerned return from holidays, and the supporters are desperate to for the club to sign James McPake from relegated Coventry. The influential centre half was called up by Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neil for the forthcoming friendly against Holland. McPake qualifies for Northern Ireland through his Antrim born grandfather on his mother’s side.

Former Bohemians defender and Dublin native Matt Doherty confirmed that there is ‘no chance’ of him being at Easter Road next season in an interview after the final.

Injury blow for Fenlon as Hibs lose to Inverness

Pat Fenlon faces an injury worry after full back Matt Doherty limped off during Hibs two goal defeat to Inverness Caledonian at the Tullochs Caledonian Stadium in the club’s final league game of a disappointing season.

The Easter Road men went into the game knowing that a three goal victory would move Hibs above Caley in the table, and gain an extra £80,000 in prize money, but his team selection suggested that such thoughts were far from his mind.

Fenlon made eight changes to the team which scored four without reply against Dunfermline on Monday night to retain their place in next season’s SPL. Only Dubliner Matt Doherty who scored the opener, Garry O’Connor and Tom Soares retained their place as the manager wrapped a few in cotton wool ahead of next week’s cup final. Teenage keeper Paul Grant, a lifelong supporter of the club who started the season as fourth choice, made his debut in place of Mark Brown.

Up until this season, Hibs had never won a competitive game in Inverness, but an early season 1-0 victory and a recent 3-2 win have laid the hoodoo to rest. Caley manager Terry Butcher felt hard done by with both results and the former England captain was determined to gain revenge for these defeats.

Both teams were guilty of some poor passing in a typical end of season encounter with nothing at stake and the only highlight of a dull first half was a George Francombe 25 yard strike which Ryan Esson did well to save.

Leigh Griffiths replaced O’Connor for the second half, but it was the Highland outfit who started more brightly and young Grant made his first SPL save from a powerful Johnny Hayes strike. Kenny Gillet went close with a long range shot before a Greg Tansey free kick opened the scoring.

Teenage midfielder Sam Stanton replaced Soares after 60 minutes, but the youngster was unable to make an impact before matt Doherty was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. Irishman Hayes made no mistake from the spot and the game was effectively over as a contest.

Midweek goal-scorer Eoin Doyle replaced his fellow countryman before long term club captain Ian Murray almost scored an own goal in what is likely to be his last appearance for his boyhood heroes in his testimonial year when he misjudged a defensive header which spun narrowly past the post.

Griffiths created a chance near the end, but he was forced wide before his shot was easily saved.

In the last minute, on loan Wolves defender Doherty limped off after a clash with Billy McKay and the management and supporters all hope that the knock is a minor one and that he will be available for the cup final next week. The former Boh’s star has become a firm favourite with the Easter Road fans since his January move.

Final opponents Hearts face champions Celtic tomorrow whilst Fenlon takes his squad to Dublin to prepare for the game.

Inverness: Esson, Tokley, Shinnie, Gillet, Piermayr, Hayes, Tansey, Foran, Shinney,Tade, McKay. Subs Tuffey, Proctor, Golobart, Meekings, Tudor Jones, Ross, Sutherland.

Hibs: Grant, Francombe, O’Hanlon, Murray, Stephens, Doherty, Wotherspoon, Sproule, Soares, O’Connor, O’Donovan. Subs Brown, Booth, Towell, Stanton, Monaghan, Doyle, Griffiths

Attendance  4,457

Four goal Hibs ensure SPL safety

When then game kicked off, you could have cut the tension at Easter Road with a knife. Fifteen minutes later the fifteen thousand Hibs fans were wondering what the fuss had been about after Matt Doherty, Eoin Doyle and Garry O’Connor had fired Pat Fenlon’s men into a three goal lead. A second half Paul Hanlon volley which hit the underside of the bar and bounced out but was inexplicably given as a goal by the east stand linesman was enough to ensure SPL football in Leith next season, and send Jim Jeffries’ Dunfermline back to the first division.

Fenlon made three changes to the side which beat Aberdeen last Wednesday. Influential captain James McPake returned from injury and replaced goalscorer Sean O’Hanlon, whilst Lewis Stevenson replaced George Francomb and the suspended Leigh Griffiths was replaced by former Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle.

Hibs got off to the perfect start after five minutes when Lewis Stevenson was fouled and the resultant free kick by Tom Soares was headed on by McPake to Matt Doherty who got away from his marker to head the ball past Smith in the Dunfermline goal.

Dubliner Doherty was the provider for the Hibs second goal after getting the break of the ball on the right and chipping across for Doyle to head home for his first SPL goal since joining the club in January.

On fifteen minutes, the home fans were ecstatic when Hibs were awarded a penalty after Austin McCann was adjudged to have fouled Paul Hanlon in the box. Garry O’Connor made no mistake from the spot and even the most optimistic Pars fan knew that their hopes of survival were gone.

Jim Jeffries men did fight back and made a few chances with Jordan McMillan bringing out a fine save from Mark Brown before the break.

Hibs continued where they had left off in the second half and Isaiah Osbourne laid the ball on a plate for Doyle to tap in but the unmarked striker completely missed the ball as it whizzed across the six-yard box.

A Doyle header was cleared off the line by Gary Mason before Hanlon’s well-struck volley hit the crossbar and clearly bounced down several inches in front of the line but to the amazement of the Dunfermline players, the linesman awarded a goal, sparking jubilation amongst the Hibs faithful.

After the game, a delighted Pat Fenlon said: “We were very good from start to finish. It’s a great relief for everyone at the club. We’ve got some really good players, we just need to get confidence in them and you can see that coming into them over a period of time and they’re gaining more confidence every time we play.”

Hibs: Brown, McPake, Kujabi, Hanlon, Doherty, Soares, Stevenson, Claros, Osbourne, Doyle, O’Connor, Subs Grant Sproule, Francombe, Murray, O’Donovan, O’Hanlon, Towell

Dunfermline: Smith,  McCann, Boyle  Dowie, McMillan, Kerr, Mason,Hardie, Hutton, Kirk,  Graham Subs  Fernandez, Young, Cardle, Willis, Dougal, Barrowman  Buchanan

Attendance  15,281

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