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Leinster Senior Cup 2012: UCD AFC v Athlone Town, Monday 27th Feb, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm KO

UCD AFC take on Athlone Town in the first round of the Leinster Senior Cup.UCD_AFC_v_Athlone_27_02_12


UCD AFC’s Airtricity League Premier Division side kick of their season with a Leinster Senior Cup game at home to Athlone Town on Monday the 27th of February, k.o 19:45.


The 2012 close season has been a remarkably successful one for UCD AFC both on the field and off it. Martin Russell has operated shrewdly in the transfer market replacing wingers Darren Meenan and Dean Marshall with former student Chris Mulhall and talented Bohs winger Gary Burke.


A talented winger who failed to fit into Pat Fenlon’s system at Bohemians, Gary’s signing represented somewhat of coup for UCD and his arrival has added to the overall excitement. Former Belvedere team mate Paul Corry was quick to point out his qualities “Gary is an excellent player...great footballing brain he brings other players into the game and is very creative, I have been telling the lads in dressing room to watch out for him cause he will do well.”


Paul Corry himself had drawn plenty of speculation throughout the off-season; the dynamic midfielder had drawn the eye of Brighton and Hove Albion and St. Pat’s before to deciding to re-sign with the students for another year. Corry’s midfield partner Paul O’Conor was enthused by the news saying: "It was a massive boost to have him [Corry] back in the team. Any team with Corry in it is going to be better off that's why there was so much interest in him during the off season, so we're delighted to have him back and I hope he produces again this season".


Chris Mulhall decision to re-sign for the Students after being part of Shelbourne’s successful push for promotion will take some of the pressure off Graham Rusk shoulders, having bagged eleven goals in 60 appearances for UCD in his first spell. Chris’s joy at returning to the Bowl was evident when we caught up with him; “I am delighted to be back with UCD and it has been great to get back training with this group of players.”


On the field UCD have gone from strength to strength during pre-season. Graham Rusk and Barry McCabe looked sharp, both players finding the back of the net against Limerick FC and Wayside Celtic respectively. While under 19’s stars Hugh Douglas, Dean Clarke, Chris Lyons and James Kavanagh continued to impress.


The university cups always provide a good opportunity for the scholarship players to impress and this year was no different. Impressive performances by Ross King in the Harding Cup and Collingwood Cup have caught the eye of Diarmuid McNally (assistant manager to Martin and the UCD’s Soccer Development Officer) who acknowledges that King has plenty of potential and may well figure at some stage this season.


The college put the disappointment of losing in the final of the Harding Cup behind them quickly, going on to win the Collingwood Cup in impressive fashion, beating Mary Immaculate 1-0 in the final. Mark Langtry, who experienced a difficult season last year suffering from injuries, continued to prove that he was back to his best as he grabbed two goals in four games and was named player of the tournament.


Off the field UCD have continued to grow its links with the student community announcing recently that they would enter into partnership with UCD’s radio station Belfield FM, providing live match day commentary across the Dublin area on 107.8 and online at www.belfieldfm.ie.


Talking about the new arrangement station manager Peter Branigan said “Belfield FM is delighted to being working with UCD AFC. We hope that this agreement can bring UCD's soccer exploits to a wider audience, both on campus and online. To be able to be part of a regular commentary team at The Bowl is a hugely exciting endeavor for the station. I've been a fan of the team myself for ten years; they are my local club, so I can't wait for the season to get started.”


UCD AFC take on Athlone Town in the Leinster Senior Cup First Round on Monday night. Coincidentally UCD also faced off against Athlone at the same stage of the competition last season losing 2-1 in a tightly fought affair. Sixteen year old Ian Sweeney pounced in the 90th minute to secure the win for Athlone.


Martin Russell has been happy with the way that the team has performed over preseason stating; “I have been happy with all the players’ work ethic, they have trained well and the results have been improving steadily from our first friendly against Galway through to the Collingwood Cup.”


When asked about who he was looking at selecting Martin said “Ross King could be on the bench but it will more or less be the same lads that will be involved against Cork, with one or two of Chris Lyons, Hugh Douglas, Dean Clarke and James Kavanagh being on the bench.”


Looking ahead to the game Martin appreciates that Athlone got one over them last season but he believes that UCD will be focussing on their performance, “They got one up on us last year, but we will remain focussed on our performance.”


In the up coming season Martin understands that his team have aspects of their game that needs improving, “always we are looking to improve, we have to be tighter, but not at the expense of playing football, the experience of last year is going to stand by us.”



Paul Corry (foot), Robbie Benson (hip), Sean Russell (back), Gary Burke (back)





Last Match:

Fourth Round LSC,

Athlone Town AFC 2 –UCD AFC 1

Gary Higgins (21)              Darren Meenan (73)

Ian Sweeney (90)