Champions once more!
The format may have changed, but UCD have triumphed in the reserve league for the fourth time in six seasons after a thoroughly entertaining 2-1 extra time win over Bohemians in the A League final in the Bowl last night. Brothers Dave and Evan McMillan scored the goals as UCD came from behind to win 2-1 against a Bohs side which finished the game with eight men. Bohs had the first chance of note in the game after five minutes. Phillip McDonagh won a corner which was well met by the head of Robbie Ryan but the ball flew over the bar. Only a minute later, UCD had a chance of their own. A shot was blocked by the Bohs defence and the ball fell for David McMillan who struck a fierce shot into the right corner of the goal but Bohs keeper Chris Kanopka was up to the task and he pulled off a fine save. UCD had much more possession in the early period of the game and some nice play from Man of the Match Keith Ward and John Reilly, in particular, in midfield had UCD well on top but Bohsâ€™ defence was solid and didnâ€™t allow UCD many clear-cut chances. In fact Bohs themselves had the next good chance. On 20 minutes, a free kick into the box from Alan Mulcahy caused chaos in the UCD defence before finally being cleared by Andrew Boyle after several ricochets. This seemed to galvanise the Students and Evan McMillan had a header skim the bar from a Sean Harding free kick soon after. Just after the half hour, Greg Bolger set up David McMillan who beat a defender, surged into the box and had another shot go just over the bar. Only three minutes later however, against the run of play, Bohs took the lead. After a foul on the edge of the box, a neat pre-planned short free kick move gave Mark Molan plenty of space to pick out a cross and it paid off as he found Paddy Madden in space six yards out, and he swept the ball home into the net. UCD completely dominated the last ten minutes of the half with a free kick from Enda Stevens flying narrowly wide after David McMillan was taken down just outside the box and Greg Bolger and Evan McMillan also had shots off target. Stevens in particular was coming into the game well with good runs up the touchline. The half finished with at least two minutes of injury time being taken up completely with UCD corners but nothing came of them, with a free out to Bohs ending the half. UCD continued to press for an equaliser after the break. Just three minutes into the half, the ball broke out of the box to Reilly and his shot was just tipped over the bar by Kanopka and three minutes later, some nice play by Evan McMillan and Ciaran Nangle set up David McMillan who had another shot just over the bar. Bohs nearly doubled their lead in bizarre fashion after 64 minutes. A long ball upfield found Maddenâ€™s head but the ball looked to be easy for UCD keeper, Billy Brennan, to deal with. However, having been limping for the previous few minutes, he dropped the ball and had to quickly scramble to prevent it going in for a second goal to Bohs. Bohs had the ball in the net again with ten minutes to go from a Mulcahy header but the referee had already blown his whistle for a push. All of UCDâ€™s possession finally bore fruit with six minutes left when a cross from the right landed perfectly for David McMillan just inside the box who swivelled and hit a beautiful right-footed volley past the keeper and into the right corner of the goal. Once the goal went in, UCD looked the more likely to win it, with Bohsâ€™ players looking tired and several going down with cramp. Only a minute after the equaliser, a storming run by Ward took him past three defenders and into the Bohs box but his shot was straight at the keeper. A couple more long shots were easily dealt with by the Bohs keeper before the game headed to extra time. UCD could have taken the lead two minutes into extra time when David McMillan got a toe to a through ball by substitute Paul Cahillane after a great run by man of the match Ward. Kanopka pulled off an excellent save but the ball landed for McMillan again, six yards out, in acres of space and with only the keeper to beat. He rushed his shot slightly and Kanopka was able to save again. Three minutes into the second period of extra time, a ball into the Bohs box resulted in a scramble, finally ending with a Bohs defender heading the ball over the bar for a corner. Ward hit the corner straight to Evan McMillanâ€™s head and he made no mistake to put UCD into the lead. A minute later came the other talking point of the game as Daniel Ennis was high and very late in attempting to put in a tackle and was deservedly sent off. This sparked a scuffle and Robbie Ryan, who had been booked at the end of the second half, kicked the ball straight at the injured UCD player and he was also given his marching orders with a second yellow card, giving the unusual spectacle of both Bohs centre backs trudging off the pitch together for an early shower. Soon after, Mark Molan, who had been down twice already, was unable to continue so, with all three substitutions made, Bohs were down to 8 players for the last eight or nine minutes. UCD made heavy work of closing out the win with a three-man advantage and the remaining Bohs players did their best to find an equaliser. In the end though, Brennan was never really troubled and, in fact, UCD should have made it 3-1 right at the end when Ward and Reilly set up Bolger on his own in the Bohs box but he fired over the bar. In the end though, UCD were deserving winners against an strong Bohs side and are now the inaugural A Championship champions. UCD - Brennan (c); Harding (Purcell 75), Stevens, Boyle, E McMillan; King (Cahillane 69), Ward, Bolger, Nangle (Matthews 63); D McMillan, Reilly. Subs not used - Barron, Kelly