UCD crowned CUFL Men's Premier Division Champions
RUSTLERS CUFL MEN’S PREMIER DIVISION FINAL
IT SLIGO 1 UCD 2
An eighth Colleges and Universities Premier League title in 14 years is on its way to Belfield after UCD gained a narrow 2-1 victory over IT Sligo in a tense and closely contested Final at Athlone Town Stadium.
UCD were made to battle all the way for this latest success by a talented Sligo side who dominated large portions of the game and were unlucky not to have taken the decider at least to extra-time.
Sligo had all the early chances with Darren Collins first to test Lorcan Healy in the UCD goal.
Brian Kavanagh shaved Healy’s crossbar with another fine effort and Mark Byrne from a great position put his finish wide.
UCD's only early response was when full back Michael Gallagher in a strong overlap on the right had his shot blocked by Sligo ‘keeper Jason Quinn.
While later the impressive Liam Kerrigan cut in from the left flank and his low shot was held by Quinn while later header by the Co Sligo born Kerrigan from a Gallagher cross went past the post.
Sligo came close to breaking the deadlock coming up to the interval when Scott Lynch seized on a mistake by Evan Farrell and pushed forward to pick out Gary Higgins with a through pass but Healy did brilliantly to keep out Higgins’s powerful shot.
UCD brought Harvey O’Brien on at centre back for Abdel Babikar for the second half and four minutes in they went in front.
Kerrigan set off on a run on the left and as he reached the Sligo box Ryan Norris nudged him to the ground. Plenty said referee Ray Conlon and Yoyo Mahdy confidently put away the spot kick.
A rather fortunate lead only last a little over ten minutes when a Kavanagh free kick dropped in the UCD box and O’Brien in attempting to head the ball out for a corner put it past a helpless Healy for the equaliser.
Sligo piled on the pressure after that boost and with high balls being pumped into the UCD area Healy did really well to field most of them.
The goal that finally clinched the UCD win came with just over 15 minutes remaining when a Jack Keaney free wasn’t fully cleared out and Mahdy got his foot to a loose ball to hit the roof of the Sligo net with his brilliant first time finish.
More Sligo pressure failed to yield another equaliser and with Healy in fine form behind them the UCD defence held out to pick up another Premier crown.
Man of the Match: Liam Kerrigan (UCD)
IT SLIGO: Jason Quinn; Ryan Norris, Ben Treanor, Oran O’Reilly, Ryan O’Reilly; Brian Kavanagh, Scott Lynch; Jeremiah Idahor, Gary Higgins, Mark Byrne; Darren Collins.
Subs: Dan Beya (for Higgins 70), Ronan Gallagher (for Lynch 81). Not used: Brandon Manues, Roland Anderson, Darren Somers, Dermot McLoughlin, Trevor Martin.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Michael Gallagher, Abdel Babiker, Luke Boore, Darragh Corcoran; Evan Farrell, Jack Keaney; Yoyo Mahdy, Paul Doyle, Liam Kerrigan; Colm Whelan.
Subs: Harvey O’Brien (for Babiker h-t), Sean McDonald (for Doyle 62). Not used: Mark Dignam, Cian Ryan, Michael O'Keane, Carl Williams, Ciaran Behan.
Referee: Ray Conlon. Assistants:Damien Jordan, Des McEnery. Fourth Official: Paul Malone.
RUSTLERS CUFL MEN’S DIVISION ONE FINAL
NUI GALWAY 1 TU DUBLIN-TALLAGHT 1 (AET)
(TU DUBLIN-TALLAGHT won 5-3 on pens)
Finally after many seasons of heartbreak Pat Scully has steered TU Dublin-Tallaght back to the top flight of Colleges and Universities football.
A 5-3 penalty shootout victory over NUI Galway saw them capture the Division One title in a closely fought Final that finished 1-1 after 20 minutes of extra time at Athlone Town Stadium and with it promotion to the Premier Division next season.
Scully has seen his side falter at the final hurdle on several occasions in the past but this victory was certainly a sweet one for the long time Tallaght boss.
‘I’m really delighted to finally make it to the Premier Division at last after so many disappointments and I think we deserve to get there after a great season and a determined performance from the squad’ said Scully.
Ola Lawal gave the Tallaght side the perfect start grabbing the opening goal on six minutes.
Brian Sofola found the unmarked Lawal with a clever pass in the centre circle add the Tallaght midfielder powered forward into the Galway half and unleashed a low drive that goalkeeper Michael Garrity did get his hands to but was unable to keep out.
Galway were stung by this early score but they regrouped and came close to getting back on terms before the break.
Tallaght ‘keeper Favour Memuduaghan was called into action to make top class saves from Colin Kelly and Calym Crowe while centre back Adam Rooney put his finish from inside the six yard box wide after a well delivered Caoifhionn O’Dea corner.
Galway then went on to dominate the second half while Tallaght seemed happy to contain them and wait for a break to mount a counter attack.
Memuduaghan was kept busy keeping out shots from Sheagh O’Connor and O’Dea and later Eoin Whelan had two great chances to pull a goal back but first he sidefooted a perfect Aidan O’Hanlon cross side wide and then saw a goalbound effort headed out of danger by Eoin McPhillips.
All the Galway pressure finally came good but they had to wait until the closing minutes for the equaliser.
A corner from the right found Kelly and after his shot was brilliantly kept out by Memuduaghan the ball came out to Ruairi Casserly at the far post and he fired it home from a tight angle.
It was no more than Galway deserved and with Tallaght reduced to ten men on the stroke of full time when Yoma Ogaga received a straight red card for an overzealous challenge it looked like the westeners would have the advantage in the extra time.
However it was Tallaght who went close with Martins Olakanye beating Garrity in a race for a long clearance but his first time shot went past the post.
Then Jordan Adeyemo hit the Galway post when Lawal sent him through with a neat pass.
The best chance for Galway came close to the finish after Niall Rooney played a lovely one two with Kelly but once again a magnificent effort by Memuduaghan from Kelly to tip the ball away for a corner saved the day.
The penalty shoot ut went in favour of Tallaght from early on when after Lawal had netted their first spot kick the Galway skipper Eric Whelan saw his effort come off the crossbar.
Daniel Ridge, Sean Quinn, McPhillips and Adeyemo were all on target for Tallaght while Galway trying to play catch up had Calym Crowe, Adam Rooney and Joe Thompson successfully beat Memuduaghan but the South Dublin side finally beat their hoodoo and clinched the win.
Man of the Match: Favour Memuduaghan (TU Dublin-Tallaght)
NUI GALWAY: Michael Garrity; Mikey Whelan, Cillian Doyle, Adam Rooney, Calym Crowe; Sheagh O’Connor, Ruairi Casserly; Caoifhionn O’Dea, Colin Kelly, Eoin Whelan; Aidan O’Hanlon.
Subs: Niall Rooney (for O’Connor 72), Dara Mulgannon (for Whelan 99), Joe Thompson (for O’Hanlon 108). Not used: Ben Murphy, Shane Sutton, Spencer Onyiri.
TU DUBLIN-TALLAGHT: Favour Memuduaghan; Marvin Mbala, Daniel Ridge, Ayremic Niang, Amos Sholanke; Sean Quinn, Ola Lawal; Brian Sofola, Eoin McPhillips, Yoma Ogaga; Jordan Adeyemo
Subs: Martins Olakanye (for Sofola 90). Not used: Cormac Burke, Kian Delaney, Michael Fakina, Cole Omorehiomwan,Daniel Butler.
Referee: Paul Malone. Assistants: Damien Jordan, Willie Stokes.