There’s been lots of UCD AFC action to write home about since our last issue, with our senior side being in action three times in what was a busy week of League of Ireland football.
Last Saturday, The Students consolidated their third place position in the First Division with a hard-earned 1-1 draw away to Longford Town. Anything but a win would have resigned ‘The Town’ to 4th place, and as such they came bursting out of the traps in search of three points. The home did take the lead inside the first half, as Davy O’Sullivan dispatched a penalty kick following a handball from Maxi Kouogun. Following this, UCD had goalkeeper Niall Corbet to thank for keeping them within touching distance, as he pulled off a number of good saves. Longford were eventually made to rue their missed chances, as the visitors drew level, following a goalmouth scramble which eventually culminated in Joe Manley firing home.
With business in the league dealt with, UCD were left with the small matter of a Leinster Senior Cup semi-final clash with domestic champions Dundalk on Tuesday night. A sizeable crowd turned up at The Bowl to see if The Students could pull off a shock, and they were not left disappointed with the spectacle. In a performance at odds with pre-match predictions, UCD took the lead just before half time courtesy of a penalty-kick converted by skipper Gary O’Neill. Dundalk were left frustrated by the stubborn resolve of the UCD defence for much of the second half, until they finally drew level on 84 minutes, ex-Chelsea Youth Captain Conor Clifford’s excellent strike from long-range proving the difference maker. Following an extra-time stalemate, the game was eventually decided by the cruel method penalty kicks, and it was Dundalk whose experience showed, holding their nerve for a 6-5 victory.
The final game of the week took place on Friday night in what was UCD’s last senior home game of the season. The game was effectively a dead rubber, with both side’s already having consolidated their positions in the league table. Nonetheless, the game proved to as competitive as ever, as yet another Gary O’Neill penalty ensured a 1-0 victory for The College to take the points tally for the season to 44 with one game left to play.
In other news, details of the U-19’s clash with Norwegian side Molde FK have been confirmed. The UEFA Youth League tie will take place on Wednesday September 27th, kick off is at 6.30pm at the Bowl as Maciej Tarnogrodski’s side look to build on their recent success.
Chris Foley – Sports Editor