Monday 19 February 2018

On-fire Sheriff shoot down poor Students

UCD 1-3 Sheriff YC

Sheriff YC players celebrate after their second goal against UCD at the Belfield Bowl
Sheriff YC players celebrate after their second goal against UCD at the Belfield Bowl

Jamie Moore

Sheriff YC became the third non-league team to knock League of Ireland opposition out of the FAI Cup over the weekend with a well-deserved win at the UCD Bowl last night.

Kevin Lynch, Sean Murphy and substitute Mark Higgins got the goals to condemn the Students to their first defeat in nine matches.

UCD followed in the footsteps of Waterford, who were beaten 2-1 by Tolka Rovers on Friday night, and Cobh Ramblers, who were humiliated 3-0 by Killester United on Saturday.

The quality, or lack of it, in the League's second tier will come under further scrutiny after Wexford exited at the hands of Cork, while Shels went out after a 5-0 mauling in Dundalk.

Athlone Town are the only First Division club definitely in the hat for the third round draw. Finn Harps have to replay against Longford Town tonight.

Sheriff fancied themselves for an upset in this game, but UCD went into it as firm favourites, because their opponents were coming off the back of a long season and two disappointing cup final defeats.

Alan Reilly's team lost the FAI Junior Cup final to Liffey Wanderers at The Aviva and then the Leinster Junior Cup final against Collinstown before clinching their league title in the lead-up to this match.

UCD had the majority of possession but managed to create only some half-chances.

Ryan Swan's header was saved by Lee Murphy before Gary O'Neill flashed a warning shot over the bar.

Sheriff's plan to drop off and allow UCD to have the ball limited Collie O'Neill's team to few clear chances.

Kevin Lynch's low shot then gave them the lead eight minutes before the break but UCD goalkeeper Niall Corbet will feel he could have kept it out. It was a well struck shot from 25 yards but should have been saved.

The UCD manager didn't spare the rod at half-time. Someone left a dressing room window open and anybody passing by could hear as O'Neill certainly let the players know about his dissatisfaction with the first-half performance.

With his words ringing in their ears, UCD needed to respond but fell further behind just five minutes after the break.

John Lester's pass looked like it would run through to Corbet but he had to head it clear under pressure and it dropped to Sean Murphy.

He volleyed it first time with the side of his foot and Corbet could only watch it drop perfectly into the far top corner.

UCD could have got one back a couple of minutes later but for an excellent block by Joe Flood to stop Gary O'Neill's shot going in.

It would have been interesting had UCD scored but instead, Sheriff pushed on to get a third with 13 minutes left.

Darren Dunne's cross was headed into the top corner by Mark Higgins to secure their path into round three.

UCD got a consolation in the 90th minute, when a shot from Jack Watson was parried by Lee Murphy and Chris Mulhall finished the rebound but it was too little, too late for UCD, who have been knocked out of the cup by a non-league team for the first time since they became a League of Ireland club in 1979.

Their attention will return to their chase for promotion back to the Premier Division, not to mention their Europa League adventure which is due to begin in July.

The majority of the other First Division clubs will also be asking themselves some questions after a weekend of giant killings.

The Sheriff players may have been looking forward to a well-deserved holiday but will have to postpone those plans as their cup run continues.

UCD - Corbet; Langtry, Leahy, Boyle, Coyne (Kouogum, 66); Mulhall, Kirwan (Watson, 46), Benson, Doyle; Watts; Swan.

SHERIFF YC - L Murphy; P Murphy, Kavanagh, O'Neill; S Murphy (Larkin, 76),D Dunne, Lester, Flood (McCabe, 70), Lynch (Higgins, 57); Rock, K Dunne.

REF - J McKell (Tipperary).

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