Honours Even at the Brandywell

Derry City 0 UCD AFC 0

The last two weeks have proven to be a success for Martin Russell’s UCD outfit, as they managed a well-deserved victory over bottom side Monaghan United, as well as a somewhat fortunate draw against Derry City in the Brandywell. The two results have left the Students in seventh position in the Premier Division table, and with an impressive home record, UCD can look forward to the arrival of Bohemians on Friday night.

The Students picked up a vital three points last Friday against a struggling Monaghan side in the Bowl with a 3-2 victory. UCD halted the possibility of four consecutive losses with this result after defeats to Sligo Rovers, Bray Wanderers and Dundalk F.C. The Students took the lead in the fifty-third minute after Daniel Ledwith crashed in a goal past the Mon’s goalkeeper Chris Bennion. Monaghan then showed great determination to level on the sixty-ninth minute, when Conor Murphy headed in a Jordan Keegan cross.

UCD did not hesitate to push on for the win, and punished the Mon’s defense with two late goals from Cillian Morrison and Paul O’ Connor. Jordan Keegan grabbed a late consolation to make it 3-2 to the Students at the final whistle. Monaghan United manager Roddy Collins will begin to worry after he cited the game against UCD as vital to their season. Martin Russell, meanwhile, can’t be any more content at his homeground, as the Students have won seven out of their last eight games in the Belfield Bowl.

Both UCD and Derry City failed to return to their recent winning ways on Friday night, only managing a 0-0 draw in a close affair under the lights in the Brandywell Stadium. Praise may be given to the away side, as UCD showed great organisation to avoid defeat to a rampant Derry City, who currently sit at fourth in the Premier Division. The Candy Stripes dominated throughout the match, but were left frustrated at full-time after squandering numerous chances.

The game began slowly, with neither side able to create much in the opening exchanges. Just minutes after the half-hour mark, Dermot McCaffrey threatened with a corner from the right, which was met by Kevin Deery, only for the attempt to be saved by McGinley. David O’Connor showed great awareness to keep out Simon Madden in the fifty-third minute after an aggressive burst into the UCD area. On the hour mark, Patrick McEleney showed quick feet and an array of skills to open up a shot for himself, but could only see his left-footed strike parried away by McGinley.

The first genuine opportunity of the match came in the seventy-seventh minute, when Ledwith’s free kick found David O’Connor in a dangerous position. O’Connor’s header clipped the outside of the post, highlighting the poor finishing that was evident throughout the game. The Candy Stripes may have had claims for a late penalty but Referee Derek Tomney waved away protests after David O’Connor appeared to foul Farren inside the six-yard box.

The Students nearly caused a potential smash and grab late on after Kevin Deery’s header sailed just inches wide. Derry hit back on the counter attack immediately and nearly broke the deadlock themselves, after Robert Benson teed up Mark Langty, but could only see his close range attempt swatted away by Candystripes keeper Gerard Doherty.

In the final moments of play, Farren was only inches away from getting a late goal for Derry City. Stephen McLaughlin sent in a testing ball and the resulting header from Farren went straight at McGinley, to the disappointment of the Derry fans. UCD will go into their next fixture beaming with confidence, as they face Bohemians on April 13th in the UCD Bowl.

Derry City: Doherty, Madden, McCallion, McBride, McCaffrey (McDaid 84), McEleney, Higgins (McGroary 87), Deery, McLaughlin; Patterson (Morrison 74), Farren.

UCD: McGinley, Langtry, Nangle, D O’Connor, Leahy (Burke 33),

O’Connor, Rusk (Lyons 67), Benson, Douglas, Ledwith, Morrison.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

by Aaron Kennedy