Andrew Dempsey reports from the UCD Bowl
Liam Kerrigan’s late winner gave UCD a win on their opening game of their pre-season preparations over Premier Division Longford Town.
Town forward Rob Manley gave the visitors the lead on the hour mark but their advantage was wiped out with twelve minutes to play thanks to a leveller from Paul Doyle.
It was then in the 88th minute when the Students completed their comeback win as Kerrigan slotted home while one-one with Luke Dennison.
The Students came into the game just a day after they unveiled the signings of Sam Todd, Donal Higgins, Adam Lennon and Sean Brennan ahead of the 2021 season.
Brennan, of course, was formerly of Longford for half of the 2019 season. He made seven competitive appearances for De Town under then-manager Neale Fenn.
Longford on the other hand came back to the venue that brought them so much play-off joy last term with six new signings – the most recent of which being former Student Conor Davis.
While Davis did not start the game for Daire Doyle’s charges, it was his striking teammate Aaron Dobbs who did – and he went close to giving the visitors the lead.
The former Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne forward got on the end of a Karl Chambers cross across the face of the goal, but UCD keeper Carl Williams turned the shot away with his feet.
And Town went close moments later through the lively Aaron McCabe – but the Cavan native saw his shot saved by Williams after latching onto a loose ball.
However, in a half of few real openings for the hosts – they went close through the left foot of Evan Weir.
The teenage full-back saw his shot curl away from goal from outside the penalty area as the side’s went in level at the break.
Both teams changed their sides in the second-half, and it was the Students who went closest early doors through Liam Kerrigan.
The former Sligo winger cut inside and unleashed a curling effort that crashed off the top of Luke Dennison’s crossbar to earn his side a corner.
However, just eight minutes later, Longford took the lead through last season’s play-off hero Rob Manley.
Manley profited on a mistake from the UCD back-line and Lorcan Healy to slot home into an empty net from just outside the penalty area.
As Longford continued to press and probe in the minutes after their opener, they were pegged back with just over ten minutes to play.
Students captain Paul Doyle cut inside and slotted the ball home past Town keeper Dennison to level the game in the 78th minute.
And it was to get even better for UCD in the 88th minute as Kerrigan made sure of the win for the hosts.
The Sligo native latched onto a great ball from former Athlone Town playmaker Adam Lennon to score while one-on-one with Dennison in the Town goal.
The American shot-stopper initially saved the first effort by Kerrigan, but the winger was on hand to score the rebound to give Andy Myler’s charges a late win, and some retribution of sorts for their play-off defeat against Longford last season.
UCD: Carl Williams(Lorcan Healy 46); Evan Weir (Sam Todd 46), Evan Osam, Harry McEvoy (Harvey O'Brien 46), Michael Gallagher (Evan Farrell 46), Luke Boore (Evan Osam 46); Jack Keaney (Adam Verdon 46), Donal Higgins (Paul Doyle 46), Sean Brennan (Ciaran Behan, 46) Eoin Farrell (Adam Lennon 46), Sean Brennan (Mark Dignam 46); Colm Whelan (Liam Kerrigan 46).
Longford Town: Lee Steacy (Luke Dennison 46); Aaron Robinson (Joseph Manley 46), Aaron McNally (Shane Elworthy 16 (TBC, 76)), Michael McDonnell (Patrick Kirk 46), Joe Gorman (Aaron Bolger 46); Ben Lynch (Dean Zambra 46), Aodh Dervin (Matthew O'Brien 46, (Aodh Dervin, TBC)), Karl Chambers (Dylan Grimes 46), Callum Thompson (Sam Verdon 46); Aaron McCabe (Conor Davis 46), Aaron Dobbs (Rob Manley 46).
Referee: Robert Dowling.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Liam Kerrigan (UCD).