IRISH UNIVERSITIES COLLINGWOOD CUP
KERRIGAN SENDS UCD INTO COLLINGWOOD FINAL WHERE FREESCORING QUEENS AWAIT
UCD … 2 MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY …1
SECOND-HALF substitute Liam Kerrigan clinched the win with a 76th-minute goal to see UCD through to next month’s Irish Universities Collingwood Cup final after a titanic semi final struggle with Maynooth University at John Hyland Park, Baldonnell.
By JOHN HUDSON
So, the final of this season’s Irish Universities flagship competition will be a North South affair and a repeat of the 2018 decider after Queens University Belfast had a comfortable 4-0 victory over NUI Galway in the day’s other semi final at the AUL Complex.
That Belfast final four years ago played at the Queens Sports Grounds saw UCD edged out the home side with a late Daire O’Connor winner.
Starting without any of their League of Ireland regulars and with a similar line up to that which knocked out UCC 3-0 in the quarter final it was UCD drew first blood early on.
Adam Lennon put them in front on nine minutes when he nipped in smartly off the right winger and more or less unopposed met Rossa McAlister’s excellent cross into the Maynooth goalmouth and with a neat first-time touch cleverly steer it past a helpless Enda Minogue.
A really top-class finish from one of UCD’s exciting crop of up-and-coming players.
UCD looked threatening at that stage and Ciaran Behan and Tobi Jinad had mazy runs into the Maynooth box halted before they could hit the target as UCD pressed for a second.
However, after all the pressure it was Maynooth who grabbed an equaliser when centre back Aaron McBride rose highest in the box to head home a Jack Reynolds corner.
Play then hotted up at the other end as UCD chased a second before the break and Minogue had to be at his best to keep out dangerous efforts from Behan and Lennon while Jinad saw his close range shot crash off the crossbar and Lennon hit the rebound wide as UCD.
Club skipper Jack Keany replaced McAlister early after the resumption and UCD then introduced their big guns Liam Kerrigan and Colm Whelan on the hour.
Maynooth still looked capable of going in front and only great defending by Gearoid Mulligan and Michael McHugh kept out Success Edugun and Paddy O’Sullivan from testing Carl Williams.
O’Sullivan then fluffed their best chance to grab that vital score when he shot well over Carl Williams bar from a perfect position.
Back came UCD and Behan with a sharp turn and shot just missed the target and later the usually clinical Whelan got his best opportunity to get on the scoresheet but he blazed his finish well over.
Maynooth were to rue O’Sullivan’s earlier miss as with less than 14 minutes remaining the impressive Kerrigan raced through on a long clearance to cleverly place the ball past Minogue for what turned out to be the winner.
To their credit Maynooth stuck to their task and they did cause UCD some heart stopping minutes towards the end and several times the Belfield back four were glad to scramble balls out of the danger zone.
But apart from a Jack Reynolds low drive that Williams held on to and a free from Darragh Reilly which the UCD ‘keeper also gathered they managed to survive to run out 2-1 winners.
In the other semi-final at the AUL Complex where the strong wind played its part, Queens who had easily accounted for the Collingwood Cup holders DCU in last week’s quarter final the same two goal scorers John McGovern and Ronan Young who did the damage in the previous tie struck again.
McGovern, their Newry City attacker and the Co. Down club’s leading scorer in Irish League games, hit a hat-trick for the second successive week with Young getting on the scoresheet again.
NUI Galway had no answer to the superior northern side and failed to make any serious impact in the game.
UCD: Carl Williams; Michael McHugh, Tommy Tonge, Gearoid Mulligan, Conor Gleeson; Matthew Scott, Rossa McAlister; Adam Lennon, Ciaran Behan, Tobi Jinad; Danu Kinsella Bishop.
Subs: Jack Keany (for McAlister 50), Liam Kerrigan (for Scott 60), Colm Whelan (for Kinsella Bishop 60). Not used: Harry McEvoy, Billy Griffin, Andreaas Djoruus, Donal Higgins, Mathew Treanor.
Maynooth University: Enda Minogue; Dylan Pierce, Lukas Mahon, Aaron McBride, Darragh Reilly; Joe Bo ndo, Luke Neville; Success Edogun, Calum Warfield, Paddy O’Sullivan, Jack Reynolds.
Subs: Eoin O’Neill (for Eadgun 60), Sven Biansumba (for O’Sullivan 79) Darragh Ellison (for Reynolds 86).Not used: Ger O’Connor, Ugo Nzawze, Ozasi Irilue, Sean Martin.
Referee: Eddie Reilly, Assistants: Mick Hughes and Peter O’Mahony.