League Preview: UCD -v- Shamrock Rovers
Andy Myler will call time on his time managing UCD at the end of this season and the time for the Students in the Premier Division could end on Friday night should they lose to Shamrock Rovers.
They must win against the Hoops to avoid relgation and they haven’t managed a league victory against Rovers in over a decade.
The club issued a statement on Thursday on Myler's future at the club:
UCD AFC can confirm that Andrew Myler is stepping down from his role as 1st Team Manager with the club. The club wishes to express it’s thanks to Andrew for his tireless work since being appointed in 2019 and wishes to draw special attention to his exceptional successes in his time as Manager.
Andrew oversaw a third-place finish in the First Division in 2021, and won promotion back to the Premier Division via the playoffs, culminating with a win over Waterford in the final. The following year, despite a number of senior players moving on, Andy managed to reshape a young squad and keep the club in the Premier Division, marking a tremendous achievement.
He has played an integral role in the development of the club’s talent since his appointment and leaves with the best wishes and thanks from all associated with the club.
UCD also confirmed that current first team coach Willie O’Connor will take over as the first team manager next season.
On Friday the Students are looking to score their first goal against the Hoops in ten league games
It is ten matches since the Students last won a league game – that was the 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers in June, one of only two times they’ve managed a league victory all season. They’ve lost eight matches and earned just the one draw since that win over Sligo.
The Students hosted the Hoops earlier in the season in the Leinster Senior Cup. Rovers ran out 4-1 winners in that game played in early February. Donal Higgins got on the scoresheet for the Belfield based team that day.
A win over bottom placed UCD on Friday would leave the Hoops knowing that, irrespective of results elsewhere, four wins from their final five games will secure Rovers a record equaling five in a row.
In their last three games, they beat Dundalk and Bohs at home and, thanks to a late Graham Burke penalty in the Brandywell, drawn with Derry City to leave them four points clear of the Candystripes (and eight of Pat’s who have a game in hand at home to Drogheda on Monday).
Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley wasn’t happy with his team’s first half performance in Derry last week. Speaking to shamrockrovers.ie he said “If you look back, anything Derry had in the first half, any momentum in the game or any chances they had, came off the back of us making really poor decisions that we don’t normally make and we made a lot of them in the first half.
“It was different things, giving the ball away when we’re in possession, then for a set play, at a corner or free kick or throw in, we weren’t switched on. We allowed them to dictate what happened from that and that’s very unlike us. We gave Derry a bit of a foothold in the game and if you watch it back, it wasn’t as if they dominated the game in any way, shape or form.
"We weren’t at our levels, and we gave up too much of the game because we were sloppy in our decision making.
“The good thing about this group is they understand when we’ve hit our levels and when we haven’t. Last Friday in the dressing room (at half-time) the players knew that the first half wasn’t good enough.
"It’s up to us as staff to relay why it wasn’t good enough and fix it, but the players are experienced enough and when you’re this group of players and you’ve performed at the level you’ve performed, you’ll know the first half wasn’t us. They knew themselves and it was up to us as staff to make them understand why and how it was happening and making sure we improved in the second half, and I thought we were excellent.
"We took control second half, Derry had one or two moments but in the main we took control of the game.”
A fine passing move opened up Derry late on for Burke to earn a penalty that he duly dispatched.
"We don’t revert to kicking the ball long or kick in hope, we trust what we do. Second half as I said, we had a foothold in the game and the penalty incident sums up the good play. It was really clever play right from the start of the move and we got the penalty from it.
"But we always preach that to the players, trust the process, trust what we do as nine times out of ten it’s enough to get us the results.”
Referee: Kevin O'Sullivan
Rovers have just the one loss in their last dozen league games – winning seven of those matches.
The Hoops have won their last 15 games on the spin against UCD, scoring 44 goals and conceding just two.
Rovers won 16 league games in a row in the 1930s against Jacobs and the current club record is the run of 17 league wins over Galway United (who are likely to gain promotion back to the Premier Division on Friday).
The Students last avoided a defeat against Rovers in July 2013 when they drew 1-1 in Tallaght when Robbie Benson scored the Students goal that day. Their last win over Rovers was earlier that season when they won 2-0 at the Belfield Bowl in April 2013.
3-0 away win
Suspended: Adam Wells
Injured: Johnny Kenny
Doubtful: Jack Byrne