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Watch: Irish defender the hero as 89th minute goal keeps Newport in the Football League

Mark O’Brien is unlikely to ever score a more important strike.

Updated at 12.30

Source: Boomone/YouTube

IRELAND’S MARK O’BRIEN was the hero yesterday, as his 89th minute goal kept his club Newport in the Football League.

Hartlepool were ultimately relegated from League Two, despite beating Doncaster 2-1, with Newport consequently needing a win to ensure safety.

With the Welsh side drawing 1-1 against Notts County, O’Brien volleyed home the winner in the game’s dying moments to send the home fans at Rodney Parade into ecstasy.

It was a special moment for the 24-year-old Dublin-born defender, who caught the eye playing for Cherry Orchard at youth level, before signing with Derby in 2008.

The former Republic of Ireland U16 Player of the Year made 34 made Championship appearances in seven seasons with the Rams, but a damaged cruciate and a succession of injury issues ultimately hampered his progress, and O’Brien left the club at the end of the 2014-15 season.

He subsequently signed for League Two side Luton, but struggled to gain regular first-team football, and only joined Newport back in January after his Luton deal was terminated by mutual consent.

Since joining the Welsh club on a contract lasting until the end of the season, he has been a regular fixture in the side and his all-important strike was his first goal for the club and just his second ever in 10 seasons of senior football.

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Paul Fennessy

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