Kelly: Hopefully I'm a legend now!

Aidan Fitzmaurice

BLINK and you'll miss him has, sadly, been the case for Dean Kelly at Shamrock Rovers this season, the former junior international playing just 10 league games for the Hoops following his move from Oldham Athletic at the start of the season.

But UCD's defence blinked, took their eyes off Kelly for just a second last night and the ex-Crumlin United man toe-poked the ball past impressive UCD keeper Mark McGinley deep into injury time to give Rovers a 2-1 win, which sealed their second successive league title.

It was only his second league goal of a season which promised so much but was ruined by his inability to get into the team and then injury -- but what a goal.

Kelly (pictured) earned a yellow card from referee Neil Doyle for taking off his shirt when celebrating his goal -- at times like this you wonder if referees have any heart or soul or a true love for the game and whether this is taking fussiness to a new level.

But the yellow matters not for Kelly who, even if he never kicks a ball for the club again, will go down in Rovers folklore.

"I have been out injured for the last six or seven weeks but I had been working hard in the gym to get back, but it was all worth it," a delighted Kelly said.

"A lot of the lads in the squad are tired from playing so many games this season but for myself and Ken Oman, it's like just starting the season off again and it was great for the pair of us to get the goals. Ken said before he came on that he felt he could make a difference and I said the same so I'm delighted.

"Hopefully that makes me a Rovers legend now, scoring the goal that won the league for the team," added Kelly.

Time was almost up when Stephen O'Donnell tried a late effort, which luckily found its way to Kelly.

"Stephen O'Donnell took a shot, it hit off one of their defenders and it just fell for me to nip it in at the back post," he explains.

"I just kicked it at the back post, the first thing I did was look around to see was it offside but once I saw the linesman run away I knew it was a goal.

"It was the biggest goal of my career."