Where are they now? - UCD's 2009 First Division title winners

Thu, May 28 2020

Famed for their ever-continuing production cycle of League of Ireland greats, past and present – UCD have asserted themselves as one of the most important clubs the country has to offer.

They don’t get the crowds, nor do they get the plaudits they often deserve, but make no mistake about it, the 2009 First Division winning side has certainly proved its worth in the past decade.

If you have not read our piece looking back on the Students title triumph of ’09, you can do so here, but what it didn’t include was where that crop is now.

Many have retired from the professional ranks, some have gone on to have distinguished League of Ireland careers, and one went all the way to making a senior international appearance for the Republic of Ireland.

Goalkeepers

Gerard Barron

At the end of the 2014 campaign, Barron decided to call time on his playing days and is now currently working as goalkeeping coach at UCD alongside his role as a football development officer with the club. 

Billy Brennan

Brennan embarked on a journey up North enjoying stints with Lisburn Distillery, Portadown and Larne in the Northern Irish Football League. Billy is now a Development Officer for Football in Guiyang, Guizhou, China.

Cian Byrne

Byrne departed the Belfield outfit at the end of the 2010 season to join hometown club, Drogheda United as he spent a year at United Park with Mick Cooke.

Defenders

Andy Boyle

Since winning the First Division back in 2009, Boyle went on to win all of Irish football’s major honours at Dundalk before he sealed a well-deserved move over to Preston North End. On the back of a fantastic European run for the Lilywhites he also earned an international call-up with the Republic of Ireland.  

While in England, he played for Doncaster Rovers on loan before joining Ross County in Scotland. He is now back with Dundalk.

Brian Shortall

Shortall had stints with St Patrick’s Athletic, Athlone Town and Shelbourne after leaving the Students. However, injuries were to be the detriment of Shortall’s playing career as he was forced to hang up his playing boots in 2016.  

Sean Harding

After three years starring in the UCD first-team, Harding emigrated to Australia and not before long, returned home to have stints with both Bray Wanderers and Limerick before returning to childhood club, Crumlin United.

He was most recently with Kilnamanagh while he now also runs his own personal training firm and gym.

Michael Kelly

Kelly left the boys from Belfield in 2010 to move to Australia but soon returned home, having stints with Shamrock Rovers B and Shelbourne before the Dubliner dropped out of League of Ireland for the time being after joining Leinster Senior League side Killester United in 2016.  

Luke Hardy

The Englishman joined UCD at the start of the 2009 First Division before leaving the Students halfway through the season to join up with Athlone Town. He is now a UEFA A Licence Coach and works now with both IT Carlow and the FAI.  

Brian Connaughton

Connaughton has since gone on trial at Shelbourne in 2016 but was not offered a contract by the Reds. He is now playing with Gary McCabe, Conor Kenna and Sean Harding at Kilnamanagh.

Mick Leahy

Leahy has gone on to play in the Europa League with UCD whilst also enjoying spells at St Patrick’s Athletic, Limerick and Sligo Rovers since 2013.

He is now no longer playing League of Ireland football and is currently studying to be a lawyer

Gareth Matthews

Since his departure at the end of the 2010 campaign, Matthews enjoyed a two-year spell at Shelbourne before returning to Belfield in 2013.

After leaving League of Ireland football, Matthews has since gone on to play for junior club St Patrick’s CY and is now with Lucan United.

Evan McMillan

Since departing UCD in 2010, McMillan has since returned twice as both player and coach whilst having spells at Bohemians, St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers in the Premier Division.

Evan left his role as assistant manager at UCD due to work commitments having been replaced by current UCD assistant boss Ian Ryan.

Midfielders

John Dineen

Dineen’s spell at Belfield was to be short-lived as he returned to Cork in 2010, joining forces with new City manager Tommy Dunne in 2010. The Tralee native however moved Stateside to begin his studies with the University of Delaware after leaving City.  

Dineen then joined Cobh Ramblers in 2018 but his time at St Colman’s Park was short lived, and after completing his masters programme at UCD, he is now a full-time assistant coach with the University of Delaware where he works with former Cork City player Ian Hennessy.

Greg Bolger

Bolger has since gone on to enjoy spells at Sporting Fingal, Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City before the Dubliner joined up Stephen Bradley’s Shamrock Rovers side for 2018 where he most recently won the 2019 FAI Cup to add to his mightily impressive medal haul to date

Keith Ward

Since departing Belfield in 2010, Ward has had a relatively successful spell in the League of Ireland with Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and Derry City before Ward joined up with Keith Long at Bohemians for a second time at Dalymount Park.

James Timmons

Mainly part of the Leinster Senior League outfit, Timmons also lined out for the now defunct Kilkenny City as well as Australian side Melbourne Knights.

Chris Mulhall

Mulhall was yet another UCD star of ’09 that returned, before departing again to link up with Martin Russell at Limerick where they walked to the First Division title.

He then joined Drogheda United after falling out of favour at the Markets Field and soon joined Longford Town.

However, his time in the Midlands was short-lived and he now plays for Leinster Senior League side Portlaoise Town.

Ronan Finn

Now captain at Shamrock Rovers, Finn has enjoyed spells at both Sporting Fingal and Dundalk since his Belfield days.

Since departing UCD, the Dubliner has gone on to win multiple league titles, FAI Cup’s and EA Sports Cup’s.

He has also twice played in the Europa League Group Stages and most recently captained Shamrock Rovers to securing their 25th FAI Cup.

Paul Corry

Off the back of completing his studies at UCD, Corry joined English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday but his time at Hillsborough was cruelly cut short by injury.

The Dubliner soon returned home and joined Shamrock Rovers on a three-year deal but was forced to retire shortly after.

He is now a commercial manager for McNulty while he also carries out punditry work with both RTE and Eir Sport.

Ciaran Nangle

Having helped to ensure UCD’s Premier Division safety in 2012, Nangle made the cross-city move to Bohemians on Dublin’s Northside where he joined up with Aaron Callaghan for two years.

Since his league of Ireland days, Nangle has lined out for Leinster Senior League Sides Bluebell United and Crumlin United.

Robbie Creevy

Creevy lined out for the Students for a further five campaigns before having spells at both Bray Wanderers and Bohemians.

Creevy has since stepped away from League of Ireland football to focus on work commitments and is now playing for Seaford Rock in Blackrock.

Forwards

John Reilly

Following his league title success at Belfield, Reilly soon emigrated to Canada before returning to Monaghan United in 2011 and stayed up until their eventual demise in 2012.

Most recently, Reilly lined out for Leinster Senior League side St Mochta’s in the FAI Cup in 2014.

Ciaran Kilduff

Kilduff then lined out for UCD on their return to the Premier before returning to Rovers in 2011.

Kilduff then joined Cork City on loan before lining out for both St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk where the Dubliner won all Irish domestic football has to offer.

He then made his way to NASL side Jacksonville Armada in the USA before returning home to join Shelbourne in 2019.

David McMillan

Having just been released by Scottish side St Johnstone, McMillan has also lined out for Sligo Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk where the qualified architect won all the domestic Irish game has to offer. 

He was most recently on loan with Falkirk from St Johnstone. Since leaving the Bowl, he has won three Premier Division’s, one FAI Cup and two EA Sports Cup’s.

Peter McMahon

Since his departure in 2010, McMahon has played for Drogheda United, Bohemians and Portadown. The Watford man was plying his trade at NIFL side Glentoran, but he was released by the Glens in 2019.

Evan Connolly

Connolly’s stay at Belfield was brief as he returned home to play for local side Mervue United when they were lining out in the League of Ireland. Connolly finished his League of Ireland career at the end of the 2011 campaign.

Graham Rusk

Rusk spent three more years at the Belfield Bowl before making a move to Mick Cooke at Drogheda United in 2012. After a two-year spell at United Park, Rusk moved to Athlone where he suffered relegation for the first time in his League of Ireland career. Since then, Rusk has most recently lined out for Leinster Senior League side Portmarnock AFC.

Timmy Purcell

Purcell signed for the Students late on in the 2009 transfer window and left at the end of the 2009 season to join Waterford United.

He has since moved to Australia and was most recently seen playing for Green Gully SC in Melbourne.

Medals picked up by the 2009 UCD First Division winning side since departing  

Defenders:

Andy Boyle – Premier Division (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019), FAI Cup (2015), Scottish Championship (2018-19), Scottish Challenge Cup (2018-19), EA Sports Cup (2014, 2019).

Evan McMillan – FAI Cup (2013), Leinster Senior Cup (2011), Setanta Sports Cup (2011).

Midfielders:

Greg Bolger – FAI Cup (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019), Premier Division (2013, 2017), Presidents Cup (2014, 2016, 2017), EA Sports Cup (2015), Leinster Senior Cup (2014), Munster Senior Cup (2017).  

Keith Ward – Premier Division (2014), EA Sports Cup (2014).  

Chris Mulhall – First Division (2016).  

Ronan Finn – Premier Division (2011, 2015, 2016), EA Sports Cup (2013), FAI Cup (2015, 2019), Setanta Sports Cup (2011, 2013), Presidents Cup (2015), Leinster Senior Cup (2015).

Forwards:

Ciaran Kilduff – Premier Division (2011, 2015, 2016), FAI Cup (2015), First Division (2019), Setanta Sports Cup (2011, 2013), Leinster Senior Cup (2012, 2015).

David McMillan – Premier Division (2014, 2015, 2016), FAI Cup (2015), EA Sports Cup (2014, 2017), Leinster Senior Cup (2011, 2015).