UCD AFC bowed out of the Leinster Senior Cup at the semi final stage of the 2012 competition.
Leinster Senior Cup Semi-Final, UCD Bowl.
UCD 2 – 3 St. Patricks CY
Rusk 51, 71 O’Connor 3
Dunne 79, 81
By Peter Branigan
UCD’s attempt to win the Leinster Senior Cup came to a surprise end at the UCD Bowl on Monday night against Leinster Senior League side St. Patricks CY.
The Students came into this game on the back of a fine week, which had seen them inflict a first league defeat of the season upon Sligo Rovers before securing their passage into the third round of the FAI Cup. Coincidentally, that cup win had seen them defeat a team from the very league level they were due to face at the Bowl.
UCD dominated the first-half, in a manner similar to the way they had against Phoenix FC, but they lacked the clinical pass that could have unlocked the stubborn Leinster Senior League defence. Dean Clarke was handed a starting place following his excellent impact-sub performance against Phoenix and he made a bright start for UCD. He ran down the left wing in the first minute, beating two before his cross was blocked.
St. Pats CY took the lead with their only chance of the half and it couldn’t have been easier for Dean Young. A long ball seemed to have evaded the striker but a horrible bounce wrong footed Mark McGinley in the UCD goal. Young collected the ball, took a touch, and finished into the empty net from seven yards out.
From there it was all UCD. Samir Belhout nearly equalised immediately when he met a Stephen Doyle cross but his effort from eight yards slid wide of the left hand pass.
UCD players were becoming frustrated with the way in which the Leinster Senior League side were defending and this showed when Belhout shouted at his wing back Mark Langtry. The striker was immediately replaced by UCD’s highest goal scorer Graham Rusk with only eight minutes gone.
College squandered a couple of decent chances around the half hour mark. Daniel Ledwith’s eighteenth minute effort flew just wide of Philip O’Connor’s right hand post. Great work from Robbie Benson provided Clarke with a chance ten minutes later but the young winger’s effort was well wide when O’Connor should have been tested.
The Students had one final chance before the half was out. Ledwith stepped up to take a free-kick twenty yards from goal, looking to add to the goal he had scored on Friday in the FAI Cup. His effort looked to be heading for the net, but with O’Connor rooted to the spot, the effort rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and the Leinster Senior League side were able to clear.
Martin Russell’s side went in at the break having had the lion’s share of possession but having failed to be patient enough in their build up play.
St. Pats began the second-half far more brightly than they had finished the first. The Ringsend club should have been awarded a corner, but from the resultant goal-kick UCD scored. Ledwith crossed a ball into the box which Stephen Doyle headed down perfectly into the path of the onrushing Graham Rusk. The striker showed why he is UCD’s top-scorer this season, taking a touch before finishing neatly into the bottom right-hand corner. The goal was no more than UCD deserved, even if the circumstances surrounding it were somewhat fortuitous.
In the 60th minute UCD had a good chance to take the lead. Mark Langtry played a good ball over the top to Clarke. The winger hit it on the half volley, beating the outrushing O’Connor. The ball landed just wide of the goal to the right however, but the indications were that all the momentum was with UCD.
Ten minutes later, UCD took the lead. Pats had come close in the mean time as Lee Roche’s free kick went just wide to the right of the goal with McGinley not moving. Rusk was involved in UCD’s goal however as he was taken down inside the box. The referee had no option, and Rusk dusted himself down to score the goal.
Great credit must be given to Pats for what happened next however. A combination of Tomas Boyle and Hugh Douglas failed to properly clear a Pats’ cross, under pressure from Roche. The ball rolled nicely out of the ensuing scrap into the path to Thomas Dunne who buried it into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box.
Unbelievably, UCD, for all their possession, were about to fall behind. Gary O’Connor broke with the ball down the left-wing following an attack in which UCD had committed seven men forward. He played an excellent cross to the far post where Dunne had all the time in the world to compose himself and finish. Suddenly, with nine minutes to go, the Premier Division club were a goal behind.
UCD battled but they could only create one chance of note before the game’s end. Benson went on a mazy run down the left wing before crossing. Doyle met the ball at the front post but his effort was poor, never threatening the goal.
Pats defended resolutely during the four minutes of stoppage time added and were then able to celebrate a famous victory for a team three divisions below the hosts.
While UCD will be disappointed to have lost at home at this stage of the competition, they know that there are more pressing matters to attend to in the Airtricity League. The next stop is The Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
To see more photos from the game, click here
UCD AFC: Mark McGinley, Mark Langtry, Ciaran Nangle, Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Daniel Ledwith, Robbie Benson, Barry McCabe (Paul O’Conor 69), Dean Clarke, Samir Belhout (Graham Rusk 8), Stephen Doyle
Subs not used: Paul Corry, David O’Connor, Gary Burke, Niall Corbet
St. Patricks CY: Philip O’Connor, Lee Weafer, Glen O’Connor, Thomas Nolan, Andy Doolin, Carl O’Brien (Aidan Roche 77), Gary O’Connor, Conor Riddick (Graham Hannigan 30), Dean Young, Lee Roche, Alan Murphy (Tomas Dunne 77)
Subs not used: Paul Healy, Dean Kinsella, Warren Behan, Stephen Murphy
Referee: Rhona Daly