Irish Colleges and Universities 2-0 Defence Forces
The opening quarter saw the Forces start strongly with a quick tempo to prevent Greg Yelverton’s team from settling into the game but could not produce any clear-cut opportunities with Craig Shortt only able to drag a shot wide.
The Colleges and Universities would strike first blood in the tie after 18 minutes when Shane Daly-Butz linked up with Robbie Gaul to get the Trinity man in behind to cross at the by-line with UCD centre forward Georgie Kelly able to fire home.
The first half proved to have very few chances with Joseph Dillon’s deflected shot causing the Student’s skipper Matt Connor little difficulty in goal. Jason McClelland should have doubled the advantage just before the break when Kelly nipped in front of Whelan in the Army goal and pulled the ball back for his club team mate who could not keep his shot below the crossbar.
With six of the starting eleven plying their trade in the SSE Airtricity League, the Colleges and Universities could apply their superiority and limit their opposition’s attacking threat in the second half. Anthony McAlavey was pulling the strings in the centre of the park and chances came for the Waterford man and team mates Daly-Butz and O’Connor which forced good saves out of Whelan.
Just after the hour mark, Yelverton looked to freshen things up with several changes and this decision paid dividends immediately when Gareth McDonagh latched on to McAlavey’s through ball and curled his shot into the net.
Speaking after the game, Yelverton was pleased with the performance and recognised the importance of the second goal. “We just needed that second goal. At 1-0, it’s dangerous you know they can always catch us on the counter attack but when Gareth got the second goal we looked more likely to score again,” said the Cork native.
Looking ahead to upcoming games against Scotland and France, Yelverton is looking forward to the challenges ahead. “With the players getting capped, I’m sure the lads will be eager to fight for their place. It’s good for us to travel away and test ourselves against foreign opposition.”
IRISH COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES: M Connor; R Gaul (M Slater 72), G Kearney (R Taheny 72), S O’Mahony, B McAuliffe; A McAlavey, G O’Neill (J McKeown 63); S Daly-Butz, D O’Connor (C Barry 63), J McClelland (G McDonagh 63); G Kelly (M Whelan 63).
IRISH DEFENCE FORCES: S Whelan (J O’Connor 72); E Hastings (C Doolin 72), S Guerins, D Sweeney, P Nolan (I Lordan 52); R Fox, C Shortt; A Friel, R McCarthy (P Keane 52), D Stack (D Lacey 75); J Dillon.
Referee: C Duffy (Dublin).