League of Ireland Premier Division relegation candidates UCD AFC have confirmed the shock departure of manager Collie O’Neill following the club’s record defeat on Friday evening.
The Students fell to a demoralising 10-1 defeat away to Bohemians at Dalymount Park, a result which has seen the 2018 First Division winning manager pay the price with his job.
O’Neill took over the reins of the club following UCD’s relegation to the First Division in 2014, having been a coach at the club since 2011.
The Drogheda native then oversaw the club’s heroic European odyssey in 2015, when UCD qualified for the Europa League by virtue of their fair play record.
The Students won their first round tie against Luxembourg outfit F91 Dudelange, a recent group stage participant, before falling to defeat versus Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava in the second qualifying round.
O’Neill was however unable to oversee the club’s promotion back to top tier at the first attempt. He had to wait until the 2018 campaign to steer the Belfield outfit back to the Premier Division.
2018 also saw the club go on its most successful run in the FAI Cup since 2007, falling to defeat against eventual league and cup winners Dundalk at Oriel Park by a slender goal.
However, the defeat away to the Lilywhites could not overshadow a memorable year for the club, who secured their return to the top-flight on the penultimate night of the season.
Conor Davis’ late equaliser against closest challengers Finn Harps was enough to seal their passage back to the promised land in front of a fervent home support.
Despite being tipped to have a good season on their return to the Premier Division, the Students have struggled to get on their feet, languishing at the foot of the table for much of the season.
Player departures have certainly not helped, with no less than 10 first-team regulars departing in the past year – with the talismanic captain Gary O’Neill being the headline departure.
UCD currently lie 10th in the Premier Division with 17 points to their name after 28 games. Winless away from home, the Students have only picked up one point on their travels.
The club have not yet confirmed who will take charge of the team for the FAI Cup second round clash against St Patrick’s Athletic at the UCD Bowl. Kick off is at 7.45pm on Friday evening.