League Preview: UCD -v- Dundalk

Liam Kerrigan of UCD tackled by Andy Boyle of Dundalk FC and Greg Sloggett of Dundalk FC

Action from the UCD Dundalk game in May 2022 Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)


The Students have eight games left in the league campaign with which to save their season and remain in the Premier Division for 2023, starting with a home fixture against Dundalk this Friday night.

They have had only one win from their last five league matches, a 2-1 home victory against fellow strugglers Finn Harps, although they will take some confidence from defeating Galway United in the FAI Cup.

The shine was taken off that cup victory somewhat last weekend when they travelled to the Brandywell and were well beaten 3-0 by high flying Derry City.

Their accumulation of 16 points has them propping up the table at present although they have see-sawed with Finn Harps all year between ninth and tenth place in the table.

The goals have dried up to an extent for the College team, not surprising given the absence of key players Colm Whelan and Liam Kerrigan, and they have registered only 19 goals in the 28 games played to date, an average of 0.83 goals per game.

UCD will take heart nevertheless from their previous home game against Dundalk back in May when they picked up valuable point with a 2-2 draw, both goals coming from the now injured Whelan.


The Lilywhites have faltered a lot in their last five games, only picking up five points out of a possible 15 and as a result had slipped back to third place in the table, prior to the FAI decision on Sligo Rovers’s fielding of an illegible player.

They had been overtaken by Derry City in the table but by virtue of the FAI’s decision on Wednesday to award Dundalk a 3-0 victory over Sligo Rovers, Dundalk are now back in front of Derry City and just three points adrift of leaders Shamrock Rovers, albeit with two extra games played.

The goals have certainly dried up for the Co Louth side as they have only scored one goal in those five games, discounting the own goal credited to goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan in the away game against Bohemians in early August.

Pat Hoban scored their only goal in a 1-1 draw against Derry City and his absence through injury has been significant in their last three league games when they failed to find the target.

Referring to the FAI decision, head coach Stephen O’Donnell said, “It was very unexpected but that’s the way it goes.”

 “From our point of view, we’ve got a little bit of fortune but we want to be in control of what we do ourselves and we want everything to be a consequence of what we do on the pitch.

“It doesn’t change anything for us. It obviously gives us more points but it doesn’t change our mindset. No matter where we are in the league table, we’ll always approach games in the same vein so it doesn’t change one iota about how we’ll be going to Belfield.

“They say it’s up to you to create your own fortune and that’s what we’ll be looking to do on Friday night.

‘’Even though they’re bottom of the table, they’ve been very competitive in every game,” he said. “They gave Derry lots of it last week, in the first half especially, and had some big opportunities before they conceded two in the second half.

“They’re a tough side and it’ll be no different on Friday. It’s up to us to bring our energy and intensity to it.”

Referee: Adriano Reale


Dundalk have beaten UCD twice already this season, with the first of those games in April being a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Daniel Kelly and Pat Hoban.

They also won 3-0 at home in July with David McMillan, Greg Slogett and Keith Ward the scorers.

Ex- UCD player Paul Doyle scored their first goal in that 2-2 draw in Belfield with Pat Hoban scoring the second from the penalty spot.


UCD 13/2; Draw 18/5; Dundalk 2/5


UCD 0-2 Dundalk


Injured: Colm Whelan

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None


Injured: None

Doubtful: Pat Hoban

Suspended: None