UCD AFC took a point from their trip to Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers.
Airtricity League Premier Division
Friday 4th May 2012
Shamrock Rovers 2-2 UCD AFC
Dennehy 5' Rusk pen 59'
Kavanagh 39' O'Conor 91'
UCD AFC put a poor first half performance behind them to roar back from a 2 goal deficit to claim a point in the Tallaght Stadium in Friday night. First half goals from Billy Dennehy and Daryl Kavanagh put the Students two goals down and struggling. The second half saw the Students bizarrly grow in confidence, perhaps with a sense of little to lose as they grabbed control of the game and penned their opposition back. Graham Rusk was once again successful from the penalty spot and right at the death Paul O'Conor ran clear of the defence before slotting the ball past Oskar Jannson in the Rovers goal.
UCD began the game in nervous fashion, failing to clear their lines and faltering when it came to passing the ball. It was a constant stream of Rovers attack from the first whistle and it looked ominous for the Students. The poor start to the game was compounded when Rovers took the lead after 5 minutes. Gary Twigg went down under a challenge from David O'Connor and the resulting free kick was dispatched past Mark McGinley by Billy Dennehy.
Rovers were streaming forward and the UCD defence looked at breaking point as first Chris Turner and then Daryl Kavanagh went close. It was all Rovers as before UCD could muster an attack Gary Twigg saw his overhead kick sail just wide and a Twigg cross was narrolwy missed that the far post by Kavanagh.
Danny Ledwith had UCD's first shot in anger but his shot from outside the box failed to trouble Jansson.
With six minutes to go before half time Rovers struck again. Daryl Kavanagh picked up the ball outside UCD's box, turned and curled a superb effort into the back of the net. UCD went in at half time two goals down and reeling.
The UCD that appeared for the second half was a very different side. Robbie Benson had been replaced in favour of Samir Belhout and Martin Russell adopted a 3-5-2 formation, with Danny Ledwith pushing forward ont he wings. UCD immediately signalled their intentions when Paul Corry smashed a ball of the bar and Danny Ledwith missed with a header.
All UCD's good work seemed to have been undone when Gary Twigg found himself alone in the box and his chipped finish found the back of the net. Luckily for the Students the linesman's flag was raised and UCD went about controlling possession and creating chances.
Paul Corry was becoming more influential in the centre of midfield and his raking ball picked out Ledwith making tracks down the left hand side. He turned McCormack inside out before the Rovers defender felled him in the area. The referee pointed to the spot, Graham Rusk grabbed the ball and as is becoming his wont, finished with aplomb.
UCD were back in the game and Rovers were rattled. Corry and O'Conor were linking with Belhout, Lyons and Rusk as Rovers began a game of chasing shadows. Paul O'Conor had the best chance of the second half when his header from a tight angle was well held by Jansson. He was not to be denied ten minutes later.
With UCD continuing to control the game but getting little joy up front it seemed as though the game would be up and The Students would get nothing for a decent second half performance. Step forward Paul Corry and Paul O'Conor. Corry split the defence with a perfect ball that saw O'Conor burst clear of the chasing pack. His inch perfecft finish from an acute angle nestled in the side of the net and UCD had a share of the spoils.
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Conor McCormack (Kerrea Gilbert 80), Craig Sives, Graham Gartland, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Chris Turner, Stephen Rice, Billy Dennehy; Gary Twigg, Daryl Kavanagh (Killian Brennan 60).
UCD AFC: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, Mick Leahy, David O’Connor, Daniel Ledwith; Graham Rusk, Paul O’Connor, Paul Corry, Robbie Benson (Samir Belhout, 46), Mark Langtry; Chris Lyons (Cillian Morrison 84).