UCD AFC avenged their 2016 cup final heartbreak last Wednesday night as they lifted the prestigious Collingwood Cup for the 47th time, becoming the most successful team in the history of the competition in the process.
Following on from a strong showing to overcome DCU in the semi-final, UCD went into the final brimming with confidence, but it was far from plain sailing for the eventual victors. Despite taking a lead midway through the first half courtesy of a clinical Timmy Molloy strike, things took a turn for The Students in the minutes preceding the half time whistle. Firstly, on 43 minutes, opponents Queen’s University managed to equalise thanks to a Ronan Young, who’s free-kick curled over the wall and past Gavin Sheridan. Things then went from bad to worse as talismanic striker Georgie Kelly was given his marching orders just before half-time, having initially been awarded a yellow card by the referee.
Match-winner and Player of the Tournament Daire O’Connor.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, UCD maintained their intensity in the second half, with Liam Scales and Jason McClelland both having good opportunities to regain the side’s lead. However, Queens’ resistance was finally broken in injury time, as Player of the Tournament Daire O’Connor unleashed a powerful strike past the helpless Conor Lally to send the travelling UCD supporters into raptures. This victory represents a major achievement for a side brimming with experience, which many of the squad will be looking to take with them as the 2018 League of Ireland season gets underway in the coming weeks.
Chris Foley – Sports Editor