The John Horgan column: Man United and Midleton CBS showed why you never give up no matter what the sport

The John Horgan column: Man United and Midleton CBS showed why you never give up no matter what the sport
Dylan Heay, Midleton CBS, looks to pick out a pass. Picture: Pat Moore

THEY live in worlds far apart, but last Wednesday Manchester United and Midleton CBS had an awful lot in common.

Both teams illustrated once again that in the sporting arena you never, ever give up, you must have belief in what you can achieve and you must never lose the faith.

Manchester United seemed dead and buried after losing the first leg of their Champions League Cup tie with Paris St Germain by two goals at Old Trafford and, despite scoring two goals themselves in Paris, they conceded one and with time almost up they seemed to be heading for the exit door.

But, as they have proved countless times before, it’s never over till the fat lady sings and one more time they found something deep within themselves to manufacture a winner.

Romelu Lukaku celebrates in Paris.
Romelu Lukaku celebrates in Paris.

Midleton CBS led by a point in stoppage time in their All-Ireland Colleges SHC tie with Coláiste Eoin from Dublin only to cough up a goal shortly afterwards.

It seemed certain, with the game now in its sixth minute of injury time, that they would have to settle for the Harty Cup.

But, similar to United, they refused to accept their fate and with virtually the last act of the game one of their star players, Ryan McCarthy sent the ball all the way into the opposition net from a sideline to seal a dramatic victory.

This, of course, was not the first time that this youngster from Carrigtwohill had done that.

He did something very similar against De La Salle from Waterford in the semi-final of the Harty, his side again in arrears by two points in stoppage time, he fired in a free from distance which went all the way to the net.

It might have been a bit fortunate but these scores are what they are and they all count at the end of the day.

Earlier in the Harty, the same two sides had clashed again in the group stages and again Midleton CBS had to depend on a last-gasp score from Midleton’s Ross O’Regan to snatch a vital draw that day.

So, thus far, that has been three times that Midleton CBS have held their nerve to secure big scores in games that seemed to be going away from them.

Some might call it lucky but you make your own luck and for players so young those instances illustrated a maturity beyond their years.

Cormac O'Brien in action. Picture: Pat Moore
Cormac O'Brien in action. Picture: Pat Moore

Some of the most famous sporting victories through the ages have been achieved with similar occurrences, teams depending on scores at the death to bring them unprecedented joy.

The older generation here in Cork will remember that day back in 1983 in the Munster football final when Tadhgie Murphy sent Páirc Uí Chaoimh into raptures with one of the most dramatic winning goals the old ground had ever seen.

For the second time in a year one of the greatest teams of all time had been caught in the most sensational of circumstances, remember Seamus Darby.

The history of sport is littered with last-gasp scores, Johnny Sexton’s winning drop goal in Paris last season, without that there would have been no Grand Slam. Great teams do this and whilst it’s not good for the heart, it makes for compulsive viewing.

Marcus Rashford scores a late penalty.
Marcus Rashford scores a late penalty.

Back to Midleton CBS, there still remains the possibility of an all Cork All-Ireland Colleges final, a repeat of the Harty final.

CBC recovered superbly from their Harty final loss to Midleton and, whilst they’ll be underdogs against St Kieran’s Kilkenny in the semi-final, they have nothing to lose and this bunch of players are very resilient.

CBC's Declan Hannon gets ahead of St Colman's Ciaran O'Brien. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
CBC's Declan Hannon gets ahead of St Colman's Ciaran O'Brien. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Midleton CBS must get past Presentation Athenry in their semi-final, another huge task but you’d rule nothing out now.

Having two Cork schools in the last four of the All-Ireland Colleges is a fine feat and another illustration of the growing status of the underage game in the county.

The type of victories that teams like Midleton CBS are manufacturing are bound to enhance the players that are part of them going forward.

Now, wouldn’t another instalment of Midleton CBS and CBC in an All-Ireland final be something!

The odds probably say no but weren’t the odds stacked sky-high against Manchester United last week.

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