UCD AFC will meet Maynooth in the next round of the Collingwood Cup.
UCD AFC moved into the next round of the 2012 edition of the Collingwood Cup following a pulsating clash with DCU in the University of Limerick. UCD had fallen behind in the first half but battled back to equalise and as DCU hung on towards the end of extra time the game moved to penalties. Mark McGinley in the UCD goal had been a spectator for the majority of the game but once called upon he almost single handedly dragged UCD into the next round.
On a tight pitch, inclined to cut up, both sides found it difficult to get any hold of the game early on. DCU and UCD settled into a rhythm of long balls that belied the talent both sides had on show. The Airtricity League was well represented as both sides looked to open each other up in early exchanges.
UCD had the best of the early chances, Ross King eluded the defence and collected a perfect through ball. He advanced on the keeper and looked to place the ball past the DCU number one but the keeper's fingertips diverted the ball away from goal. DCU took this as incentive to get back into the game and they almost took the lead on a number of ocasions but they could not take full advantage as the ball dropped on the edge of the UCD box. Mark McGinley made a couple of comfortable saves as DCU increased the pressure.
The pressure told not long before the end of the first half. A classy ball into the channel between Niall Wright and David O'Connor found DCU's striker advancing towards goal. The striker's early shot surprised the UCD defence and the ball flew into the far corner of the net to give DCU the lead.
DCU held onto their lead at the half time whistle and UCD knew they would need to improve if they were to avoid an early exit. This realisation spurred on the UCD team as they instantly took control of the game once the second half began. DCU were now struggling to get out of their own half and UCD were visibly encouraged.
Barry McCabe and Sean Buckley had the bit between their teeth as they dominated the midfield. Tyrone McNelis was running amock on the wing helped ably by his partner in crime, Niall Wright. At the back UCD dealt with everything as Leahy and O'Connor looked to turn defence into attack at every opportunity.
As time went by, however, it looked increasingly likely that UCD would run out of time and DCU would stand firm. Something was needed to change the course of the game and that came with 15 minutes remaining in the game. UCD changed to three centre halves and looked to push their wide men further up the field. Mark Langtry was moved fro right back to left wing and this had an almost instand impact.
Langtry was now tearing past his opposite number seemingly at will and the DCU defence were looking as though they would tap out. Still no goal came as the clock ticked towards the 90th minute. With seven minutes left things changed and UCD got the goal their play deserved. Tyrone McNelis was on the end of a clever UCD move which ended up on the edge of the DCU box. He flicked a ball between the DCU centre backs and there was the ever willing Langtry arriving right on cue.
With one touch to control and a second to slide the ball under the outrushing keeper, the ball hit the back of the net and UCD were back in the game.
Ross King nearly won the game for the Belfield Students when he swivelled on the edge of the box and fired just over. The game moved into extra time and again UCD dominated but could not find the winning goal.
Penalties would decide the game. Barry McCabe stepped up and saw his shot saved, then DCU scored, leaving McGinley with no chance. Ross King got UCD off the mark but DCU matched his effort with another goal. Michael Leahy completely missed the target and luckily for UCD McGinley pulled off his first save of the shoot out. Cillian Morrison then missed and McGinley saved again. Niall Hanley then stepped up and scored as McGinley again parried DCU's effort away. McGinley then stepped up to take his own penalty and scored, he then went back in goal only to see the DCU effort scrape by his despairing dive. Stiofain Sexton then put his penalty away and so did DCU. David O'Connor scored his penalty as did the DCU shooter. Tristan Dent then stepped up knowing that he had to score to keep the pressure on, he missed. McGinley needed another wonder save to keep UCD in the competition, he produced another save and UCD breathed again. Tyrone McNelis then scored and McGinley saved his fifth penalty to send UCD through.
UCD will take on NUI Maynooth on Tuesday at 2pm in the next round.
UCD AFC: McGinley, Langtry, Leahy, O'Connor, Wright (Sexton), Buckley(Hanley), King, McCabe, McNelis, Whelan (Dent), Arnold (Morrison)