UCD triumph in Harding Cup Final
Goals from Harvey O’Brien, Tomas O’Connor and Colm Whelan delivered the South Dublin University’s 20th success in the Freshers-only competition. It was the first success for Diarmuid McNally’s side since their 2016 victory over DCU.
Both sides came into the game in a rich vein of form, having won their Quarter Final and Semi-Final’s with ease and neither conceding a goal.
In an open game, both sides had clear-cut chances in the opening half hour with leading marksmen Eoin O’Neill and Colm Whelan both testing their opposite goalkeepers.
The opening goal came with ten minutes left in the second half when Harvey O’Brien wriggled free of defender Josh O’Toole and nodded home Ciaran Behan’s corner.
UCD suffered a blow when the later announced player of the tournament Liam Kerrigan was forced off with a shoulder injury following a mistimed challenge. The damage to UCD’s challenge was minimised when just after play was restarted from the injury when Behan swept in another corner and O’Brien’s centre half partner Tomas O’Connor doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Maynooth had plenty of chances to get themselves back into contention during the second half with O’Neill and Leon Kennedy both forcing some top class saves from UCD’s keeper Cormac Henry.
UCD sealed the victory as the game crept into stoppage time when Whelan played a one-two with Behan and finished past Malachy Doyle to begin the celebrations.
UCD: Henry, McHugh, Kos, O’Brien, O’Connor, Keaney, Kerrigan (Carmody 43’), McGrath, Whelan, O’Connell (Akinsete 39’), Behan
Maynooth University: Doyle, Finnerty (Macken 83’), Pierce (Burke 57’), O’Toole, Maher, Burns, Alamu-Tajudeen, Clarke, O’Neill (O’Sullivan 86’), Edogun (Afrika 86’), Kennedy (Worfield 69’)
Referee: Kieran Coulter (Belfast)