Sam McKeever reports from Tallaght Stadium
An early Yousef Mahdy goal set the tone for UCD, followed by braces from Liam Kerrigan and Danu Kinsella Bishop, as they picked up another vital three points in the race for promotion on Saturday afternoon in Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers II.
The Hoops saw Brandon Kavanagh add another couple of goals to his season tally – now standing at seven in the First Division – and his team hit the ground running early on as they looked to take the game to the students. Kavanagh picked the ball up between the lines before his curling left footed effort just went wide of Lorcan Healy’s left hand post.
The Students took the lead just minutes later as Rovers II goalkeeper Kian Clarke hesitated when clearing the ball allowing Mahdy close him down quickly and by doing he earned himself an easy tap in for his 11th goal of the season.
Aiden Price’s men had a penalty claim in the 25th minute as Max Murphy’s cross seemed to hit the hand of Luke Boore as strong appeals from the Rovers players were turned away before Kavanagh’s shot just went past the post soon after.
UCD then doubled their lead just after the half hour mark as a deep cross from the right by Michael Gallagher found the head of Danu Kinsella Bishop and his powerful header from just past the penalty spot found the corner of Clarke’s net.
Andy Myler’s men were easily the dominant side in the first half and they made it three just a minute before half time. A Paul Doyle corner caused a scramble in the box with Clarke’s tame punch falling to the feet of Colm Whelan who smashed it into the roof of the net from close range.
In added time UCD made it four after good work down the left by substitute Kinsella Bishop who squared it across the box against a stranded Clarke before Whelan arrived unmarked at the back post to tap home his second.
Rovers pulled one back just two minutes into the second half as Kavanagh was fouled by Kearney on the edge of the box. The midfielder stepped up to curl a fantastic strike with his left foot into Lorcan Healy’s net to give Aiden Price’s side a lifeline.
The lifeline lasted under a minute as UCD scored their fifth as they drove up the middle of the pitch before finding Kinsella Bishop who smashed home from close range to grab his second of the game.
Just after the hour mark Kerrigan found Whelan in the box with a fantastic pass with Whelan showing good feet to get a shot away which was blocked by a Rovers defender before just going past Clarke’s post denying Whelan a hat-trick.
Rovers pulled a second back on 65 minutes as Kavanagh once again hit a fantastic free kick in a similar position to the first as he wrapped his left foot around the ball perfectly to put it high into the top corner giving Healy no chance.
Five minutes later UCD almost scored a free kick of their own as an Evan Farrell strike from the edge of the box off his left foot cannoned off the bar before a scrambled followed up which Rovers dealt with well as they managed to clear the danger.
Andy Myler’s men were not threatened in the final 20 minutes as Rovers pressed on to try and keep the score line respectable with the Students holding out defensively giving themselves another important three points as they go fourth in the table.
Shamrock Rovers II: Kian Clarke; Max Murphy, Oisin Hand, Jordan Tallon, Adam Wells; Aaron Bolger (Dylan Duffy 80), Dean McMenamy (Ben Curtis 80), John Ryan(Adigun 60), Sean Brennan(Nugent 63); Brandon Kavanagh, Michael Leddy (Aidomo Emakhu 63)
Subs not used: Alex Moody.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Jack Kearny, Liam Kerrigan, Harry McEvoy, Paul Doyle (Evan Farrell 45); Mark Dignam (Josh Collins 68), Luke Boore, Evan Weir, Colm Whelan; Yoyo Mahdy (Danu Kinsella Bishop 10), Michael Gallagher.
Subs not Used: Eoghan O’Sullivan, Michael O’Keane, Evan Osam, Adam Verdon.
Booked: Jack Keaney (64).
Referee: Jason Mannix
extratime.com: Man of the Match: Danu Kinsella Bishop (UCD)