UCD bowed out in the last 16 of at FAI Ford Cup on Friday night
UCD’s interest in the FAI Ford Cup ended on Friday evening as they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Derry City in the third round. The Students created a number of chances but couldn’t convert any of them as David McDaid’s second half strike sent the visitors through to the last eight.
Injuries have plagued Martin Russell’s squad this campaign and once again the UCD boss had to do without several first team regulars for the visit of the Candystripes. David O’Connor failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Tomas Boyle at the heart of the defence. The centre back joined Samir Belhout, Chris Mulhall, Cillian Morrison, Dean Clarke, Sean Russell, John Jelly and Graham Rusk in the stands with Paul Corry also missing as he looks to complete a move to Sheffield Wednesday.
Derry made the better start as the heavy rain throughout the day made the surface wet under foot. It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal when a quick free kick split the college defence but David McDaid didn’t trouble Mark McGinley from ten yards.
UCD are in a run of fine form and could have taken the lead after 18 minutes but Robbie Benson couldn’t direct his header on target from a Dave McMillan cross. Set pieces looked most likely to create the opening goal and if it wasn’t for Barry McCabe, Derry would have taken the lead half way through the first period. Stewart Greacen rose highest to head Madden’s corner goal wards but McCabe got back to head off the line.
The Students began to find their passing rhythm but failed to really penetrate the opposition defence as they lacked that cutting edge in the final third. McMillan saw an acrobatic effort sail well wide before a brief spell of pressure stretched the Derry rear guard just before the break.
However it was Declan Devine’s side who should have gone into the break with a slender advantage but full back Simon Madden couldn’t connect with McLaughlin’s low cross at the back post with the goal at his mercy.
The second period was much of the same as both sides gave the ball away cheaply but a swift counter attack from UCD nearly broke the deadlock. Paul O’Conor fed the onrushing Hugh Douglas on the right and his sweeping cross was headed inches wide by Robbie Benson. That was the best it was to get for the Students as minutes later Derry hit the front.
Simon Madden’s in-swinging corner wasn’t dealt with by Mark McGinley and when Patrick McEleney’s close range effort was headed off the line by Tomas Boyle, McDaid was on hand to scramble the ball home.
In an attempt to find an equaliser and force a replay, Russell introduced Danny Ledwith and James Kavanagh but it was another substitute who tested Ger Doherty for the first time in the game.
Chris Lyons’ stinging effort from an acute angle was parried by the Derry shot stopper before McMillan fired over from the rebound.
Doherty kept his 86th clean sheet in a Derry shirt on his 31st birthday.
UCD pushed in search of a leveler and when Stewart Greacen fouled Lyons on the edge of the box, the Scottish centre back was shown his second yellow card, the home side were given renewed hope with a couple of minutes remaining.
Despite having only ten men, Derry held firm and gave the home side little in the closing stages but Robbie Benson did have another effort which was never worrying Doherty. A late onslaught which saw ‘keeper Mark McGinley make a dash for the opposition box wasn’t enough as the Foylesiders progressed to the last eight.
Focus now turns back to the league and the search for vital points at the foot of the Airtricity League. Next up for Martin Russell’s charges is a tricky home clash with Bray Wanderers next
Friday at the Bowl, kicking off at 7.45pm and then a crucial away game in Dundalk the following weekend.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Mick Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Gary Burke (James Kavanagh 78’), Barry McCabe (Daniel Ledwith 78’), Paul O’Conor, Tyrone McNelis (Chris Lyons 62’); Robbie Benson, David McMillan
Subs not used: Ger Barron, Stephen Doyle, Dean Clarke
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Barry McNamee, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Simon Madden; Owen Morrison (Ryan Curran 92’), Ryan McBride (Patrick McEleney 45’), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry
Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin; David McDaid
Subs not used: Eugene Farry, Matthew Henry, Matthew Rooney
ucdsoccer.com Man of the Match: Barry McCabe