Eoin Rosney reports from UCD Bowl
UCD continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-1 victory over local rivals Cabinteely at the UCD Bowl on Friday night.
Colm Whelan was the hero as his hattrick powered the homeside to victory. Dean Casey did reduce the deficit to two early in the second half, but Donal Higgins put the icing on the cake 56 minutes in when he slotted home to ensure UCD would get all three points.
In truth, the scoreline probably did not reflect the game which was an extremely open match, with both sides enjoying plenty of chances but ultimately it was the Student’s ability to take their chances which was the difference between the sides on the night.
It was an interesting start to the game, with Cabinteely taking a stand against the FAI’s recent decision to award Galway United all three points after their postponed game last weekend, due to a Covid case in the Cabinteely camp.
Cabinteely’s starting XI lined up in front of the stand at The Bowl, in a socially distanced line, wearing medical masks, stating that the decision was an ‘unjust decision’ and that they had been ‘penalised unfairly’ in a pre-written statement.
UCD got their perfect start and were ahead after just four minutes. Cabinteely launched a quick counterattack but Lorcan Healy was quick off his line to intercept an overstretched ball.
His clearance was flicked on by Liam Kerrigan in the middle of the field over the Cabinteely defence and set Whelan one-on-one with Adam Hayden, and Whelan made no mistake in slotting the ball past the Cabinteely shot stopper.
The visitors did have a chance of their own just a minute later, when Casey hit an audacious volley from outside the box, but it was comfortably gathered by Healy in the UCD goal.
The Students mid-way through the half almost doubled their lead. Luke Boore’s cross from the left side was met by a towering Sam Todd header, but the latter was unable to beat the post as his looping header came back off and was subsequently cleared by a very relieved Cabinteely defence.
Cabo settled well into the game after a shaky opening 25 minutes. Kieran Marty Waters forced Healy into action twice, both within a minute of each other.
The first, was a half volley from the edge of the area which was comfortably gathered by Healy and 30 seconds later, Waters beat Healy in the goal but failed to beat the post as the Cabinteely man’s finessed shot rebounded off the woodwork.
While Cabinteely were the brighter side towards the end of the first half, it was the Students who doubled their lead right on the stroke of half time. Whelan again latched onto a long ball, and he made no mistake in slotting the ball past Hayden for a second time,.
Cabinteely had a huge chance to pull one back one minute into the second half. A long Luke McWilliams free kick found Dan Blackbyrne at the back post, but his volleyed sailed just wide of Healy’s post.
Immediately after the Cabo chance, they were punished as Whelan got his hattrick. His right footed shoot was placed beautifully into the far corner and leaving the Cabinteely players wondering what may have been, had the ball gone in at the opposite end.
53 minutes in and Cabinteely were handed a lifeline. Casey’s delicious free kick from just outside the area thundered into the top corner, giving Cabo a glimmer of hope early in the second half.
However, three minutes later, UCD restored their three-goal lead. Whelan once again raced onto a long ball, darting towards goal. He created a three-on-two scenario and teed Donal Higgins up, who slotted home for UCD’s fourth of the night.
With the game effectively over, chances dried up for the remainder of the game. There were some harmless opportunities at either end, the best chance coming Cabinteely’s way five minutes from time when substitute Conor Knight’s header was cleared off the line before Healy gathered and cleared his lines.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Michael Gallagher (Michael McHugh 73), Luke Boore, Sam Todd; Eoin Farrell, Dara Keane (Sean Brennan 56) Paul Doyle, Evan Weir, Liam Kerrigan (Adam Lennon 84), Colm Whelan (Danu Kinsella Bishop 84) Donal Higgins (Mark Dignam 56)
Subs not used: Carl Williams, Ciaran Behan, Adam Verdon, Harvey O’Brien.
Booked: Paul Doyle (51), Evan Weir (76)
Cabinteely: Adam Hayden; Kieran Butler (Ben Hanrahan 60), Kevin Knight, Luke McWilliams; Dan Blackbyrne, Alex Aspil (Dean Watters 60) Zak O’Neill, Dean Casey (Niall Barnes, 60), Villius Labutis; Sean McDonald (Conor Knight 67), Kieran Marty Waters (Jem Campion 86).
Subs not used: Ben Clarke, Luke Clucas, Joe Hyland, Jack O’Reilly.
Booked: Dan Blackbyrne (43) Kevin Knight (45) Zak O’Neill (65) Villius Labutis (79).
Referee: Oliver Moran
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Colm Whelan