Leinster Senior Cup Report: UCD 1 - 0 Usher Celtic
UCD's first home game of 2024 saw The Students secure a 1-0 victory over Leinster Senior Sunday 1 side, Usher Celtic. The match was more dominant than the late winner by Alex Dunne suggested.
Having won eight of their 11 league games this season and coming off a 3-3 draw with Premier division side and local rivals St Patrick's Athletic on Monday, Usher Celtic started the game with confidence.
There was an enterprising start in Dublin 4 as UCD, kitted in their traditional Colombian blue, took charge from the first whistle.
Dominating possession for the majority of the first half, UCD's Danu Kinsella Bishop posed an attacking threat from the centre of the field with a series of long balls, which were comfortably dealt with by the Usher Celtic defence.
Visiting goalkeeper Karl Lynam was tested from the outset, making countless saves to keep his side in the game during the first half.
Former Shamrock Rovers midfielder and League of Ireland veteran, Ronan Finn, captained the home side to their victory, acting as a stalwart engine in the midfield, covering box to box.
An effort from UCD’s Michael McCullagh from outside the box that fizzed over the upright and a goal-saving sliding challenge by Usher’s Graham Curran in the 6-yard box were the closest efforts on goal in the opening 45 minutes.
With just one effort on goal in the opening half coming from Usher striker Wayne Walker, the Kilmainham side had yet to make a real attacking impact on the game.
UCD’s introduction of substitute Matthew Alonge brought energy to the second half. A deft pass met the boot of Alonge in the opposing box in the 50th minute, with a strike that whistled past the left post.
UCD’s talisman Sean Brennan was an impressive performer for the hosts, but his persistent pressure in the second half was no match for Usher’s stone wall defence.
Despite picking out passes and creating plays that would grace higher-quality games, it was a period of scrappy play that led to the opening goal in the dying moments of the game.
Following a brace of excellent saves, a loose ball fell to the feet of UCD's 21-year-old Alex Dunne who delivered a long-range screamer into the top right corner.
On a night where the hosts dominated, the youngster proved the difference between the sides on his return following an ACL injury.
The deserving winners will face St Patrick's Athletic next on Saturday 3rd in a crunch encounter that may decide either side's future in the inaugural version of the Leinster Senior Cup.
Extratime Man Of The Match: Sean Brennan (UCD)
Attendance: 150 (estimated)