Friday 23 February 2018

O'Connor's late screamer clinches cup for UCD

Collingwood cup final: UCD 2 QUB 1

UCD's Daire O'Connor. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
UCD's Daire O'Connor. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie newsdesk

A magnificent injury-time strike from Daire O'Connor gave a 10-man UCD a hard-fought victory over home side Queen's University in the Irish Universities Collingwood Cup in Belfast.

Time was running out with the sides level on one apiece when Timmy Molloy's accurate pass picked out the lively O'Connor and he took a touch to power an unstoppable drive past Queen's goalkeeper Conor Lally.

It was no more than the Belfield side deserved after playing the whole second half without striker Georgie Kelly and skipper Gary O'Neill.

Kelly was dismissed by referee Ryan Hanna in the closing minutes of the first half for a foul on Eamon Fyfe, while O'Neill failed to appear for the second half after picking up a nasty knee injury following a heavy challenge from centre-back Callum Byers that the official deemed warranted only a yellow-card offence.

Molloy had put UCD in a great position midway through the opening half when he converted brilliantly following a flowing move involving Greg Sloggett and O'Connor.

UCD, last year's beaten finalists, looked likely to hold on to that lead coming up to the break until Ronan Young drew Queen's level with a precisely-placed, left-footed free-kick from the edge of the box.

The equaliser, O'Neill's injury and the dismissal of Kelly minutes later left UCD manager Diarmuid McNally with some problems to ponder at the break.

Gareth Coughlan replaced O'Neill and UCD set about the task of regaining a cup they have now won 47 times.

Even with the extra man Queen's didn't really pose a great threat and Young's shot from distance that Gavin Sheridan comfortably held and another top save by the UCD goalkeeper from Jarleth O'Rourke was all they had to offer.

UCD dominated possession and O'Connor shaved the post with a fine effort, Molloy forced Lally to tip over his great strike while later O'Connor might have won the game when he got clear on goal but shot well over.

However, shortly after the winger made amends with his brilliant effort to send the cup back to Belfield.

UCD - G Sheridan; D Tobin, L Scales, M Kouogun, D McConville (S Coyne 83); G O'Neill (G Coughlan h-t), G Sloggett; D O'Connor, T Molloy, J McClelland (S Byrne 89); G Kelly.

QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY - C Lally; C Smith, C Kerr (J Curry 78), R Larkin, C Byers; S O'Reilly, K Niblock; R Young, D Rooney (J O'Rourke 57), M Hughes; E Fyfe.

REF - R Hanna (Belfast).

Irish Independent

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