UCD AFC have been beaten 4-0 at home by Derry City, who scored two goals through Jordan McEneff in the first half to give the visitors the lead at half-time. UCD fought to stay in the game at the start of the second half, but it wasn’t to be as Derry scored twice in the final 30 minutes to seal victory. Monday’s loss is the students’ second 4-0 defeat this week, having been beaten by Cork City on Friday night.
UCD made a strong start and were on the front foot in the opening 10 minutes as they attacked with intent and were in early control of the possession. 15 minutes in, however, Derry scored a wonderful goal against the run of play through midfielder Jordan McEneff, who curled the ball into the top right corner of the goal. UCD Goalkeeper Lorcan Healy was left rooted in his goal, having been involved moments earlier, and could only watch as his side conceded their 8th goal of the season. It was a brilliant finish from McEneff, who dealt with the rebounded ball excellently to put his side ahead.
From there, Derry were in complete control of the tie as they mounted the pressure on the UCD defence. Right back Brendan Barr had the tough task of marking Derry’s Ben Doherty and Ryan Grayson, who were targeting his side of the defence and were creating plenty of opportunities.
With just 5 minutes until half-time, it looked as if UCD would survive the onslaught and head into the break having conceded just the one goal, until a defence-splitting ball from Derry’s Brendon Kavanagh put McEneff through on goal. UCD’s defence was caught napping, leaving Lorcan Healy stranded outside of his box, only for McEneff to dummy a shot and ease his way past the goalkeeper, before passing the ball into the back of the net.
The students headed into the break with a two goal deficit. Any chance of a second-half revival looked ominous. However, it was a strong start to the second Half from UCD, who came out with a point to prove and nothing to lose. In the opening 10 minutes of the half they created more chances than they managed to achieve in the previous 45. They attacked with a real sense of purpose and speed, with Jesse Dempsey, Mark Dignam, Donal Higgins and Ciaran Behan linking up well. Arguably UCD’s best chance of the game came in the 59th minute when Behan went on a twisting run through the Derry midfield before his shot travelled wide. The referee called it back however as Behan was fouled in the build-up. Captain Jack Keaney took the resulting Free-Kick, but it was blasted over the bar, with the goalkeeper unphased.
In the 62nd minute, Derry brought on young forward Ollie O’Neill, and his impact on the game was significant. In the 65th minute, he used his pace to drive past Donal Higgins down the right-hand side of the UCD defence. When his following touch was heavy, everybody assumed it would be an easy claim for Lorcan Healy, who came sliding in to gather the ball. However in a moment he won’t want to re-watch, the ball slipped through his grasp to put the ball on a plate for O’Neill, who passed the ball into the back of the net.
O’Neill’s presence was again strongly felt in the build-up to Derry’s fourth goal of the game. Using his pace in the UCD half, he played the ball past UCD captain Jack Keaney who brought him down on the edge of the box, and was lucky not to receive a second yellow card. From the resulting Free Kick on the left-hand side on the edge of the box, Will Patching blasted the ball into a dangerous area, as the ball took a wicked deflection off Evan Osam before the ball trickled into the back of the net.
It was a strong performance from Derry City, who currently sit 2nd in the table after 5 games played, whilst UCD are still looking for a win and sit bottom. The students will take encouragement from the opening 15 minutes, and then with how they dealt with the early setback. Their restart after Half-Time was equally as impressive, and should inspire the students as they head forward into big upcoming fixtures such as tough away days against Bohemians and St. Pats.
UCD: Lorcan Healy, Jesse Dempsey, Jack Keane, Harvey O’Brien, Brendan Barr, Dara Keane, Mark Dignam, Donal Higgins, Ciaran Behan, Alex Nolan, Daniel Norris
Substitutes – Moore, Bowden, Osam, Wells, Kinsella Bishop, Doyle, Izekor, O’Connor, Clarke
Derry City: Brian Maher, Ben Doherty, Shane McEleney, Mark Connolly, Ronan Boyce, William Patching, Sadou Diallo, Brandon Kavanagh, Jordan McEneff, Ryan Graydon, Cian Cavanagh
Substitutes – Higgins, Tadhg, Coll, McEleney, McGinty, McGlaughlin, Mullan, O’Neill, Ward, McGonigle
Referee: David Dunne