Andrew Dempsey reports from the UCD Bowl
The Students suffered their eighth defeat on the spin as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Cork City at the UCD Bowl.
Cian Bargary’s first senior goal on his league debut secured all three points for the Rebel Army over a luckless UCD.
UCD entered proceedings at the UCD Bowl after seven successive league defeats within the space of four weeks – their last win came against Cork City on April 15.
Cork on the other hand came into the game stinging from their 2-0 defeat at home to Dundalk at Turners Cross on Friday evening – John Cotter’s first defeat as caretaker boss.
James Tilley had the first shot on target of the game as Conor Kearns was forced to parry the ball wide for a corner which came to nothing.
City continued to press early on as Kearns was forced into good saves from Garry Buckley’s header after a Gary Boylan cross before Karl Sheppard shot straight at the Students ‘keeper seconds after.
The Students first effort on goal took a quarter of an hour to come as Richie O’Farrell’s half-volley flew over Mark McNulty’s net after some brilliant ingenuity from Neil Farrugia on the left wing.
Collie O’Neill’s charges grew further into the game as the half progressed and, through the genius of Jason McClelland, they really should have taken the lead through Conor Davis.
Davis’ tame shot was easily collected after McClelland dinked the ball over to the ex-Reading striker first time as the Rebel Army breathed a huge sigh of relief at the Belfield Bowl.
Further worry was to come shortly after as McNulty, who had a previous howler at the same ground a month prior, inadvertently slipped and Sean McDonald picking up the loose ball, set to score.
Saving both his, and Cork’s blushes, the experienced netminder recovered well to save smartly as UCD continued to assert their control on proceedings as the half came to a close.
A further chance presented itself to UCD before the break as Paul Doyle, who was impressing in the middle of the park, ghosted his way through before heading wide after Farrugia shifted the ball onto his right, beating Gary Boylan well on the left-hand side.
With the Republic of Ireland under-21 boss Stephen Kenny watching on from the stands, Farrugia continued to make light work of Boylan on the City right but his cross was left untouched as the second half began in earnest.
Kearns was forced into action ten minutes into the half, saving well from a Sheppard flick-on that looked destined for the net after Tilley’s excellent cross before saving the resulting rebound comfortably.
The action continued to unfold as the half progressed with UCD threatening further as the final stages of the game ticked by.
Gary O’Neill’s corner kick almost found its way into the back of Cork’s net after a scramble, but the ball somehow stayed out.
However, while Collie O’Neill’s side did much of the pressing forward, they were punished by a long ball from Boylan who found the head of Sheppard who saw his effort tipped onto the bar.
On his league debut, Cian Bargary was on hand to nod home the rebound from close range as City took the lead with over a quarter of an hour to play.
Rocked by the concession of the goal, the Belfield outfit found it difficult to get back to their previous dominance, but they did go close with moments to play through sub Yoyo Mahdy who curled his effort just over the bar.
Doyle saw his effort go wide with just three to play while Liam Scales also skewed an effort wayward but it was John Cotter’s side who held firm to secure their third win in four – two of which came against UCD.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Liam Scales, Richie O'Farrell, Evan Farrell, Josh Collins; Gary O'Neill, Sean McDonald, Jason McClelland, Neil Farrugia, Paul Doyle (Danu Kinsella Bishop, 90); Conor Davis (Yoyo Mahdy, 82).
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan (gk), Jack Ryan, Mark Dignam, Darragh Corcoran, Dan Tobin.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Sean McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy, Garry Comerford, Gary Boylan; Kevin O'Connor, Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley; Karl Sheppard (Graham Cummins, 90+5), Daire O'Connor (Cian Bargary, 66), James Tilley.
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan (gk), Darragh Rainsford, Beineon O'Brien Whitmarsh, Ronan Hurley, Colm Horgan.
Booked: James Tilley (78), Garry Buckley (79).
Referee: Iwan Griffith (Wales).
Attendance: 450 (Estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: James Tilley (Cork City).