Michael Cooke reports from the Markets Field
UCD have one foot in the First Division play-off final following a convincing 3-0 victory over Treaty United at the Markets Field on Wednesday night.
Paul Doyle opened the scoring in the opening half before two late goals from Colm Whelan embellished the scoreboard from the Students’ perspective.
The opening 20 minutes were somewhat quiet with a notable shortage of meaningful chances. Clyde O’Connell almost opened the scoring on 21 minutes but his 35-yard effort went narrowly wide.
The Students broke the deadlock on34 minutes. Tadhg Ryan got a hand to Paul Doyle’s 35-yard free-kick but couldn’t prevent it from hitting the net.
UCD were awarded another free-kick on 59 minutes when Sean Guerins fouled Colm Whelan. Sam Todd connected with Paul Doyle’s delivery who’s header was deflected out for a corner kick which amounted to nothing.
Two minutes later, Colm Whelan's right-wing cross found Paul Doyle inside the box only for his volleyed effort to be saved by Tadhg Ryan.
On 71 minutes, UCD were awarded a 25 yard free-kick. Up stepped captain Jack Keaney who’s powerful shot was saved by Ryan before Anthony O’Donnell booted the ball out of play.
Treaty were uncharacteristically poor for the majority of the contest but Tommy Barrett’s men almost pulled one back on 78 minutes.
A sumptuous pass from Stephen Christopher picked out substitute Dean George inside the box before his shot narrowly missed the target.
Treaty would’ve felt desperately unlucky not to equalise and their pain was subsequently exacerbated by the ruthlessness of Colm Whelan at the other end.
The first division’s leading marksman made it 2-0 on 79 minutes. Paul Doyle slipped it to Liam Kerrigan who pulled it back for Whelan and he steered it home from six yards.
Whelan was called up to the Ireland Under 21 squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers and he made it a day to remember by doubling his tally two minutes into injury time.
UCD now take a significant advantage into the home leg which will be played this coming Sunday while Treaty have a mountain to climb.
Treaty United: Tadhg Ryan; Anthony O'Donnell, Marc Ludden, Sean Guerins, Charlie Fleming; Mark Walsh (Sean McSweeney 64), Clyde O'Connell, Jack Lynch (c), Matt Keane (William Armshaw 78), Stephen Christopher (Joel Coustrain 78); Kieran Hanlon (Dean George 64).
Subs not used: Sean McCormack, Alan Murphy, Joe Collins, Conor Melody, Callum McNamara.
Sent off: None.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Sam Todd, Evan Osam, Harvey O'Brien, Eoin Farrell; Jack Keaney (c), Dara Keane (Mark Dignam 90), Paul Doyle, Sean Brennan (Adam Verdon 73); Colm Whelan, Liam Kerrigan.
Subs not used: Ciaran Behan, Michael Gallagher, Harry McEvoy, Adam Lennon, Evan Caffrey, Lennon Gill.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Rob Dowling
extratime.com Player of the Match: Colm Whelan