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U19s into League Semi Final

By John HudsonIMG 5523

UCD 2 DROGHEDA UNITED 1

As goal in each half ensured UCD would head to Norway next week satisfied that another SSE Airtricity National Under 19 League title could still be on the cards on their return.

The Belfield side edged past Drogheda United to book a semi final place and with the second leg of their UEFA Youth League tie against Molde FK to come on Wednesday manager Maciej Tarnogrodzski was delighted to be heading away with a second successive domestic title in their sights.

Simon Power hit the students second half winner after Drogheda's prolific striker Stephen Meaney had levelled Kevin Coffey's cracking drive that had given UCD an early lead.STR 2955

Coffey struck the opener on eight minutes when he beat goalkeeper Dylan Sweeney after Yousef Mahdy's pass had set up the chance.

Conor Crowley might have hit a second but Sweeney did well to hold his firmly delivered 30 yard free kick.

Drogheda struck back on the half hour and top scorer Meaney was allowed to get in close and beat Conor Kearns with a clinical finish.

Coming up to the break UCD suffered a major blow when they lost central defender Luke Boore with a head injury.

The winner came with just over twenty minutes remaining and substitute Power who had replaced Luka Lovic ten minutes earlier did the damage cutting in from the left to fire past a helpless Sweeney.

The UCD boss acknowledged that this part of the season is always going to be tough.

" It wasn't easy all our games now are like cup finals and we need to win them. I thought we deserved to win based on the full game. Drogheda were a difficult team to play against, hard working and well organised and capable of scoring goals. We started well and Kevin Coffey hit a great strike for the opening goal and we probably should have got another one. But they equalised from the one chance they created.

Luke Boore's injury disrupted us and we lost our rhythm for a while but I thought we were the better side for the most of the second half and Simon Power's goal got us through" said Tarnogrodzski.

UCD go to Molde on Wednesday (6.30pm local time kick off) hoping that the 2-1 first leg win gained at Belfield will see them progress to the next round.

UCD: Conor Kearns; Evan Farrell, Joe Manley, Luke Boore (Darragh Corcoran 39), Mark Dignam; Luka Lovic (Simon Power 57), Andy O'Reilly; Kevin Coffey (Neil Farrugia 74), Conor Crowley, Sean McDonald (Jack Ryan 77); Yousef Mahdy.
Subs not used: Sean Quinn, Cian Ryan, Finn McGowan.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Dylan Sweeney; Tom McCarthy (Gavin Taylor 90), Emmet Conlon, Sam Reilly, Craig Daly; Sean Hughes (Lee Partridge 60), Kyle Molloy, Eoin Broughan (Derek Dunne 90), Karl Fitzsimons, Conor Grogan; Stephen Meaney.
Subs not used: Brian Cabarly, Lee McGuinness, Michael McHugh, Aaron McNally.

Referee: Mark Moynihan Assistants: Alan Patchell, Stephen Parnell.