Andy Myler: ‘If we have any aspirations of doing anything serious in the division this season, we're going to have to play a bit better’Sun, Apr 18 2021
Eoin Rosney reports from UCD Bowl
110 minutes into their promotion playoff semi-final against Longford Town last October, Yoyo Mahdy put UCD into the lead at the UCD Bowl. The Students had one foot into the play off final and had to endure just ten more minutes of football to reach that prize.
Having been relegated back to the First Division for the 2020 season, they were hoping for a quick return to the promised land.
However, in the most cruel and unfortunate ways possible for the UCD men, Longford Town scored twice in those final 10 minutes to advance and eventually earned promotion to the Premier Division. It was a cruel blow for the Students.
To add to their woes, top scorer Mahdy announced he would be moving north of the Liffey to link up with Shelbourne for the 2021 season. It was a harsh blow for the Students, and certainly not an ending to the year manager Andy Myler would have anticipated after his first season in charge.
However, fast forward six months and UCD have recovered brilliantly. They sit second in the early First Division table, unbeaten in the first four games, having scored 10 goals along the way. Their 4-1 victory over Cabinteely on Friday night was a statement of intent in the local derby.
So far, it has been the perfect response to the disappointments of last season. Speaking after the game, Myler said he is delighted with the start, but still feels there is plenty of room for improvement.
“It is a decent start to the season in terms of the first four games,” said Myler. “I’m happy enough the way it’s gone. A couple of clean sheets in there, and we scored 10 goals across the games so happy with that as well.
“Honestly, I am a little bit disappointed with the performance tonight. The first half we were particularly bad and got lucky when the goals came. The early goal did set us off, but in some ways, it set us back too. I think we sat back and didn’t really play at all after it but we got a goal again in the last minute.
“I think we can play better, and we need to play better. We have some big games coming up and I think if we have any aspirations of doing anything serious in the division this year, we will need to play a bit better”.
Colm Whelan is a household name in UCD circles nowadays. He scored 14 goals in the league last season and has carried that form into the new season; four goals and two assists in his opening four games including a hattrick against Cabinteely on Friday night. Speaking about his performances this season, Myler was full of praise for the 20-year-old,
“Collie can be anything he wants as a player. It doesn’t really matter if he doesn’t score goals, he does enough in his general play to play senior football for the rest of his life. He has such a work rate and probably does the work of three or four men every week.
“He is an absolutely phenomenal player, a great lad and a great trainer, all of the things you look for in a good professional. If he can stay injury free, he will have a really long career ahead of him at a really high level”.
Despite a brilliant start to the season, Myler is not getting excited just yet about the prospect of promotion.
“It’s only four games in so you can’t really see the bigger picture from this juncture. It’s only a start so we will need another nine or ten games to see some shape on the Division. We need to go down now to Galway next week and perform, and we will certainly need to perform better to get a result down there.
“Galway are full time. Cork are full time. Bray will come back into it too I’m sure and Athlone are absolutely flying at the moment so there’s lots of teams there with some serious aspirations so it’s not easy.”
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