UCD AFC ease past Cabinteely to boost play-off hopes

Image Credit: Cahal McAuley

UCD AFC romped to an emphatic 5-1 victory against fellow promotion hunters Cabinteely in their Airtricity League First Division clash on Friday evening with all six goals coming in the second half. Cahal McAuley reports.

After a scoreless first half, goals from Yoyo Mahdy, Colm Whelan, and Liam Kerrigan put UCD into a 3-0 lead before Kieran Marty Waters pulled one back for the visitors. However, a late goal from Danu Kinsella Bishop and penalty from Mahdy ensured all three points went to the students.

Cabinteely came into the game buoyed from having their loss to Wexford F.C. overturned due to Wexford’s fielding of an illegible player. This meant that they leapfrogged UCD in the table coming into Friday’s encounter.

The game opened with a high tempo in an even first ten minutes with both 'keepers being tested by headers from corners. The momentum began to swing towards Cabinteely as they  registered the first real chance of the game, as Lorcan Healy was forced into saving a Shane Barnes shot from an acute angle after a poor backwards header by UCD’s Josh Collins.

Cabo came even closer to opening the scoring just seconds later as Kevin Knight missed a glaring opportunity with a free header after a dangerous ball in on 15 minutes. UCD hit back with their first clear opportunity but Yoyo Mahdy could only fire straight at Corey Chambers in the Cabinteely goal after he was played through by a fantastic ball from Liam Kerrigan.

The pace of the game slowed as half-time approached until Cabinteely once again threatened five minutes before the break. The UCD defence were at sixes and sevens as they tried to clear their lines, with Cabinteely’s Paul Fox finally getting a shot away but a fantastic goal. Line clearance from Luke Boore ensured that UCD went in at the break on level terms.

UCD would have been the slightly happier of the teams with the score at half-time being lucky not to concede, with the at-times unconvincing defending being covered for by keeper Lorcan Healy and the goal-line heroics of Boore.

The break came at the right time for the students as they flew out of the blocks after the game’s resumption breaking the deadlock five minutes into the half. Yoyo Mahdy dropped to the half-way line to receive the ball and after playing it in to Colm Whelan, Mahdy regained possession to finish the move he started, coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner to put UCD 1-0 up.

Mahdy almost had his second five minutes later as he found himself through on goal after a defence splitting pass from Evan Weir, but could only rattle the Cabinteely crossbar. UCD had to wait less than a minute after that opportunity to double their advantage as Colm Whelan managed to poke home his fourteenth goal of the season after Mark Dignam picked him out with a cross from the left wing to make it 2-0 on 56 minutes.

UCD continued their second half dominance by adding a third after 67 minutes as after some good hold up play, Whelan turned creator, feeding Liam Kerrigan who still had plenty to do but fired a rasping shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box.

Chambers prevented Cabinteely from falling four behind minutes later, pulling off a fine save as Mahdy fed Michael Gallagher who couldn’t get the better of the Cabo 'keeper. 

Cabinteely gave themselves hope as they pulled one back with their first chance of the half. Kieran Marty Waters reacted fastest after Lorcan Healy had saved a free-kick, squeezing the ball inside the post to get Cabinteely on the scoresheet with 78 minutes played. 

UCD substitute Danu Kinsella Bishop put an end to any fears of a Cabo comeback with seven minutes of normal time remaining after a great turn, run, and finish to make it 4-1. Bishop’s pace caused the Cabinteely defence problems once again as he was judged to have been fouled inside the area after another direct run towards goal.

Mahdy calmly converted the penalty to make it 5-1 and ensured that he edged in front of his strike partner, Colm Whelan, in the race for the golden boot with his fifteenth goal of the season. Mahdy could have had his hat-trick as he latched on to a loose pass from the Cabinteely defence but could only hit the legs of Corey Chambers.

Lorcan Healy was forced into one final save to deny Waters his second of the night but UCD were able to see out the win with a resounding 5-1 score-line. Cabinteely simply could not handle the students incisive passing and clinical finishing, while the UCD defence held firm after a much more solid second half.

The result lifts Andy Meyler’s UCD to third in the table, above Longford Town on goal-difference, with the students having played one game more. Cabinteely fall to fifth but remain firmly in contention for a play-off spot.

UCD will attempt to secure their spot in the play-offs as they travel to face Galway United on Tuesday week (October 27th) in their final league game of the season while Cabinteely host Drogheda United on the same date.