RUSTLERS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES LEAGUE
UCD……. 4 ATHLONE IT…….. 0
ALL the bitter disappointment of last week’s Collingwood Cup campaign was quickly banished as UCD stayed on course for a eighth Premier League title with a comfortable 4-0 quarter final defeat of Athlone IT at Belfield.
By JOHN HUDSON
Diarmuid McNally’s side had crashed out of the universities major cup competition in their opening tie when DCU, the eventual winners, got the better of them in a penalty shoot out.
But with the league title now their now their main focus UCD were boosted by the return from injury of Josh Collins, Evan Osam, Paul Doyle and Sean McDonald who all making their first starts in weeks.
Early play indicated that a very determined home side were intent on taking control of the game against an Athlone IT side who had chawked up some decent results in the Premier South Division on their way to making the league play off stages.
UCD wasted little time in opening their account and a well placed Yoyo Mahdy penalty kick after Ciaran Behan had been taken down just as he was about to get a strike on Michael Gallagher’s low cross had them in front after ten minutes.
UCD were back in their customary style moving the ball quickly around the park and making life difficult for Athlone.
Full back Gallagher threaten with some strong runs down the right flank and after another of his forays Doyle got possession and played in Colm Whelan but goalkeeper Darcy Lawless did well to keep out the striker’s low effort.
Mahdy just failed to connect with a Doyle cross and later he shot well over from a good position while Jack Keaney went close with a free from the edge of the box.
Enrique Staccione and Daniel Beunker both had half chances for Athlone and Denzil de Costa was presented with the best of them but he delayed his effort and Collins cleared the danger.
After being on the back foot for most of the half Athlone were still very much in the game going in just one down at the break.
Their hopes were dashed early on the resumption when Mahdy claimed his second goal with a neat finish from Whelan’s great pass.
Sean McDonald then added a third on 55 minutes after he gained possession in the box and kept his cool to slip by a couple of Athlone defenders and slot his finish past a helpless Lawless.
Behan might have made it 4-0 but from close in the winger placed his shot outside the post.
Athlone were chasing a lost cause by now but they stuck to their task and de Costa’s stinging drive forced Lorcan Healy to make a rare save.
The UCD win was completed with ten minutes remaining when the hard working Whelan finally got on the score sheet at the second attempt after Lawless did well to keep out the first effort.
UCD will now be joined by holders IT Carlow, IT Sligo and Waterford IT in Friday’s semi final draw.
Carlow had to come from behind with goals from Adam Steed, Sean Hurley, Dean Kelly and Liam Berry to defeat Maynooth University 4-2. Padraig Finnerty and Raz Tajudeen had earlier netted the Maynooth goals to put them 2-1 ahead.
IT Sligo were another side who had to do it the hard way as they trailed 2-0 at home to TU Dublin-Blanchardstown after early Rob Manley’s goals had put Jamie Morre’s side in front. Sligo’s goals came from Mrk Byrne (2), Ben Treanor Darren Collins and Gary Higgins.
The home side hit back and thanks to some fine finishing from Mark Byrne with two, a Ben Treanor header and Darren Collins they made it through to the last four for the second successive season since gaining promotion to the league’s top tier.
The Waterford IT and TU Dublin-City Campus quarter final tie at WIT Arena ended scoreless after 20 minutes of extra time and thanks to the greater accuracy from the penalty spot of Regix Madika, Mark McGinley, Cian Flanagan and Darryl Walsh and two super stops from goalkeeper Paul Martin the home side went through.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Michael Gallagher, Abdul Babiker, Josh Collins, Evan Osam; Paul Doyle, Jack Keaney; Yoyo Mahdy, Sean McDonald, Ciaran Behan; Colm Whelan.
Subs: Keith Dignam (for Collins h-t), Luke Boore (for Osam 57), Cian Ryan (for Doyle 66), Evan Farrell (for Gallagher 66), Michael O’Keane for Mahdy 74). Not used: Gavin Sheridan, Ben Hanrahan.
ATHLONE IT: Darcy Lawless; James McKinney, Kevin Kelly, Aaron Leggatt, Luke Kelly; Daniel Beunker, Lewis Gibson; Oisin Gibson, Denzil de Costa, Bradley Okaidja; Enrique Staccione.
Subs: Jack Hale (for Staccione 56), Jack Walsh (for Gibson 74), Demo Dairen (for Beunker 82).
Referee: James Keating. Assistants: Besim Bajrami, Robert Byrne.