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FALCONER: RUTHLESS BIRD OF PREY

UCD went into this game knowing that they would have a fierce contest on their hands. The last four Collingwood Cup competitions have been shared out between UCD and UUJ while they have met regularly in the latter stages of this competition in the same period. UCD lined up against UUJ expecting more of the same, in the end they ran out comfortable 6-1 winners. Gavin Falconer proved that he cared little for reputations and stormed out of the traps to give UCD an early lead. After little over two minutes play Falconer swooped on a loose ball and fired a rocket past the former UCD student Arthur Delahunt in the Jordanstown goal. The perfect start UCD had craved was only added to by some sublime football in midfield where James Timmons and Robbie Creevy showed a vast array of passing to keep their Jordanstown opposite numbers chasing shadows from the early stages. A succession of corners expertly delivered by Pete McMahon created half chances that the UCD frontline were unlucky to capitalise on. UUJ began to mount an offence of their own as they began to press UCD in position and Stewart Hutchinson began to create some space using his quick feet and clever runs. It was his miss hit cross that came back off the angle of crossbar and post that served UCD notice that although Jordanstown were down, they were most certainly not out. Their glimmer of hope arrived after half an hour when a poor clearance saw the ball returned into the UCD penalty area where Ger Barron and David O'Connor conspired to only half clear the ball from the UCD area, it came back with interest courtesy of UUJ's Stephen Doyle and nestled in the back of the net after two deflections. On the balance of play the goal was well deserved but UCD were coasting and fully aware they had another gear to move up, and move up they did. UCD were back in front courtesy of a well worked set piece that left as much to static defending as it did to the combination of Pete McMahon and Mick Leahy. Leahy avoided several UUJ defenders to arrive just in time to meet McMahon's corner. UCD started the second half in the same way they began the first. Getting out of the blocks quickly to put more pressure on the UUJ defence. The pressure eventually told as the elder statesman of university football Dave McMillan latched onto newcomer Sean Houston's through ball and finished with aplomb. Footballers are a tight bunch and the favour was returned as Houston gathered McMillan's through ball, rounded the keeper and fired a blistering effort into the back of the net from a tight angle. UCD continued to push forward and saw several efforts ricochet off the bar before being cleared to safety. Gavin Falconer and Robbie Creevy were two of the unlucky players but the unluckiest by far was the onlookers when Dave McMillan controlled a chest high ball, as they were denied a thing of beauty. As it was McMillan controlled the ball on his chest while moving into the six yard box, flicked the ball back over the lunging defender before firing the ball goal wards only for the crossbar to deny him the opportunity to regale his unborn grandchildren with years from now. The flowing football continued as UCD continued to cut through the UUJ defence using their exciting full backs Gareth Matthews and Daniel Lehane to stretch their attack before picking a pass that invariably unlocked the opposing defence. It was Gareth Matthews who stepped up to the plate to deliver a perfect ball to Gavin Falconer who cushioned a header over the onrushing keeper to cap a centre forward display bordering on perfection. Dave McMillan rounded off the rout with a deft volley past the UUJ custodian following a pin point free kick from Fran Moran. UCD go on to face DIT in the final of this competition two weeks from now in a venue yet to be decided. A repeat of a performance like this in the final will put them in a great position to win this challenging tournament. University College Dublin: Ger Barron, Gareth Matthews, Mick Leahy, David O'Connor, Daniel Lehane, James Timmons, Robbie Creevy, Pete McMahon, Sean Houston, Dave McMillan, Gavin Falconer Subs: Fran Moran for Pete McMahon, Barry McCabe for Robbie Creevy University of Ulster Jordanstown: Arthur Delahunt, Brendan Shannon, Sam McWilliams, James Doherty, Adam Lecky, Stewart Hutchinson, Grant Hutchinson, Johnny McClury, Mark Kelly, Stephen Doyle (goal), Nathan Kahn. Subs: Chris Hog for Stewart Hutchinson