Patrick O ‘Connor reports from the UCD Bowl
UCD and Treaty United served up a cracking match in Belfield on Sunday evening and even though the students lost the match 2-1, they marched on in the playoffs on a 4-2 aggregate score.
The Students had a 3-0 cushion coming into the game and it was just as well as they met a completely different Treaty United team to that which faced them in the Markets Field in the first leg on Wednesday night.
The Limerick side were transformed from the subdued team which succumbed to that 3-0 loss at home, and they set the tone for the second leg in the early minutes of the match, forcing the first of numerous corners in the fourth minute.
They were unable to profit from that early corner but four minutes later they fashioned a great goal from open play.
The ball was worked along the right flank and when it was crossed into the box, Conor Melody struck a beautiful half volley and the ball nestled in the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Treaty played with great confidence after that early goal and continued to create a number of other half chances as the first half wore on.
UCD were not without their opportunities also, but they found Treaty keeper Tadhg Ryan in excellent form all evening and were unable to force an equaliser before half time.
The large Limerick following were ecstatic early in the second half when the aggregate deficit was reduced to one goal after Anthony O’Donnell scored their second of the evening in the 51st minute.
This move started with a long throw in on the left touchline, and when the ball bobbled around the UCD box O’Donnell was on hand to fire it past Lorcan Healy from about three meters out.
The game was turned on its head three minutes later however, when Treaty were reduced to ten men.
Stephen Christopher contested a ball with UCD full back Evan Farrell but he appeared to go in over the top of the ball and made contact with Farrell’s ankle and referee Alan Patchell, who had a reasonably good view of the challenge, had no hesitation in issuing the red card to the midfielder.
It did seem a little harsh, albeit that Farrell was forced to leave the field with the ankle injury, but what was not in doubt was that the incident had a major bearing on the outcome.
The game was effectively over by the 68th minute as UCD took full advantage of the 10-man Treaty side and a move started by Liam Kerrigan on their right wing ended up with Adam Verdon striking it past Ryan for a good goal.
It was Verdon’s first goal for the students this season and he will hardly score a more important one, regardless of how UCD fare during the rest of the promotion play off process.
Treaty manager Tommy Barrett made a raft of substitutions in the closing stages but they did not look like bridging the two-goal deficit and UCD took full advantage of their extra man to see out the game to the delight of their large home following.
Treaty United can still be more then pleased with their excellent first season in the League of Ireland while UCD are still going strong and now look forward to the promotion play off final against neighbours Bray Wanderers.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Sam Todd, Evan Osam, Harvey O'Brien, Eoin Farrell (Michael Gallagher , 58) Jack Keaney (c), Dara Keane, Paul Doyle ( Mark Dignam, 66), Adam Verdon ( Evan Caffrey , 83) Colm Whelan, Liam Kerrigan.
Subs not used: Ciaran Behan, Harry McEvoy, Adam Lennon, Sean Brennan, Adam Lennon, Luke Boore, Mark Smith
Treaty United: Tadhg Ryan; Anthony O'Donnell( Joe Collins.78), Marc Ludden, Charlie Fleming ( Sean Guerins, 78), Mark Walsh, Clyde O'Connell, Conor Melody (Matthew McKevitt, 78), Jack Lynch (c), Stephen Christopher, Joel Coustrain ( Matt Keane 67) ,Dean George ( William Armshaw, 78)
Subs not used: Adam Gallagher , Alan Murphy, Callum McNamara, Kieran Hanlon,
Booked: Marc Walsh (65)
Sent off: Stephen Christopher( 54)
Referee: Alan Patchell
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Tadhg Ryan (Treaty United)