Winger Ian Moylad kept U.C.C. on a roll as his two first-half goals saw his side shock Division 1 side Wexford Youths in their EA Sports Cup opening round game at Ferrycarrig Park on Tuesday.
It was a brilliant result for the college side who, having soaked up the initial pressure of the home team, sprung the offside trap with two lightning breaks that ended with Moylad clinically finishing on each occasion. That left an uphill battle for the Youths for the remainder of the game that they were unable to surmount.
Wexford Youths dominated the opening ten minutes as they piled the pressure on the visiting side. Inside four minutes Craig Wall got in a right-footed shot from the edge of the area but his effort flew the wrong side of the left-hand post, while two minutes later Aidan Keenan saw his header from a Conor English free-kick rebound back off the crossbar, with Keenan blazing the rebound wide.
Having soaked up the initial pressure, U.C.C. began to operate with more confidence as Cathal Lordan and Andy Gannon imposed themselves on midfield. However, their opening goal came about from the direct route to goal, as 'keeper Charlie Bornemann lofted a high free-kick down the centre.
The ball caught the home side's back four square, leaving Moylad to race on and take it through the centre before neatly finishing beyond advancing home 'keeper Seamus Houghton to the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Following this breakthrough U.C.C. were in the ascendancy as Andy Gannon, in particular, began to dictate in midfield. After 23 minutes a Gannon pass sent Calvin O'Callaghan down the right and from his excellent ball across the face of the goal, Moylad once again applied a clinical finish from ten metres. The finish left the home side shell-shocked, trailing by two goals, and that was how it remained to the interval.
This was a game that now needed a Youths goal to lift the home support, but their lack of creativity up front saw their best attacking efforts easily snuffed out by the college side's back four in which Cian Hill and Jeremy Bridgeman were outstanding. As a result, 'keeper Bornemann was only tested by an Aidan Keenan free-kick from which he made an excellent 66th-minute save.
At the opposite end Conor Barry unleashed an effort that was just wide, while Moylad sent a curling shot from out on the right just over the crossbar. Youths manager Shane Keegan introduced three substitutes in an effort to lift his side.
They were given a boost three minutes from the end of normal time when Peter Higgins unleashed a superb 30-metre right-footed shot high into the top left-hand corner of the net to make it 2-1, setting up a tense finish, but in the end the college side held out comfortably to take a deserved victory.
Wexford Youths: Seamus Houghton, Craig McCabe, Lee Grace, Ryan Delaney (Gary Delaney, 80), James Dermody; Peter Higgins, Craig Wall, Aidan Keenan, Craig Comerford; Philip Drohan (Danny Furlong, 80), Conor English (Conor Whittle, 80). Subs. not used: Andrew Wall, Jordan Brett, David Doyle, Graham Doyle.
U.C.C.: Charlie Bornemann; Mark McManus, Cian Hill, Jeremy Bridgeman, Darragh Corcoran; Andy Gannon, Cathal Lordan (Jason Abbott, 58), Conor Barry, Ian Moylad; Mark Murphy (Seán O'Callaghan, 75), Calvin Callaghan. Sub. not used: Cian Murphy.
Referee: Brian Fenlon (Wexford Football League).