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Collingwood Cup Final 2012: UCD AFC 1-0 Mary Immaculate

UCD AFC won the Collingwood Cup for the 3rd time in 4 years.597646

 

UCD AFC took the beloved Collingwood Cup trophy home to Belfield for the 3rd time in 4 years as Niall Hanley scored the only goal of the 2012 Collingwood Cup Final. The Limerick man popped up in the Mary Immaculate box early in the first half with a smashing header that left the keeper with no chance. It was the culmination of 4 days of extremely competitive footbal, and from looking as though they were about to make an early exit in the first round UCD stuck together and saw themselves through to the final and eventually to picking up the coveted trophy.

 

UCD began the game on the front foot and had their opponents pinned in their own half from the first whistle. UCD adopted a direct style early on with Mark McGinley looking to get the ball into the final third from his kick outs. Ross King and Mike Arnold were superb in the air and did not give their opposing defenders a minutes peace. King in particular showed incredible poise picking the ball out of the air and bringin597642g his team mates into the game.

 

King was instrumental in bringing UCD's wide men into the game with Brian McDonald and Stephen Doyle looking to impress in possession. Doyle in particular was giving his opposite number a torrid time and it was from one of his corners that Tristan Dent almost broke the deadlock, his header flew just past the post.

 

UCD did not have to wait long to make the breakthrough. Good work from Doyle down the right again lead to a corner and McDonald switched wings to swing a perfect ball into the box. The combination of an excellent ball into the area and good movement in the box lead to Niall Hanley losing his marker and firing a header past the helpless Mary Immaculate keeper.

 

The go ahead goal looked likely to blow Mary Immaculate away as UCD continued to dominate possession and threaten down the wings. Ross King was pivotal to all UCD's good work as he drifted past defenders time and again and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal in the early stages. King's forward play won another corner for the Belfield Students, another superb delivery was met by Cormac O'Brolchain but he missed when it seemed easier to score.

 

As chances went begging nerves began to jangle and Mary Immaculate started to create chances of their own. Matching UCD's direct style they poured forward but did not have the required talent to take full advantage of their endeavour. A free kick was the closest the Limerick College came to troubling McGinley in the UCD goal.

 

King was at it again just before the break and having left a number of defenders in his wake he smashed a shot goalward. Hitting the back of the net would have been just reward for his hard work but the ball bounced off an upright and away to safety. It was to stay like this for the remainder of the game for King as his build up play was without fault, he could not find the required finish to match it.

 

In the second half UCD continued to dominate with Arnold commanding in the air and Sean Buckley and Niall Hanley picking up the pieces to drive UCD forward. UCD were becoming wasteful in possession and it looked as though they would be made to pay for their profligacy. Doyle and McDonald's fine delivery from the first half had deserted them as the Dublin Students could not kill the game off.

 

As UCD became wasteful Mary Immaculate began to believe they could pull themselves back into the game. A corner kick required McGinley to be alert as he punched clear and then substitute Niall Wright was called upon to head clear when danger was looming.

 

At the other end of the field UCD still could not find the back of the net as they tried from near and far to break the deadlock. Sean Buckley combined excellenty with impressive substitute Barry McCabe to set himself up with a shooting chance. Buckley's shot was true but straight down the throat of the keeper. Cillian Morrison was introduced to the game and he looked determined to make his mark. His hold up play matched his trickery as he drove UCD forward. A ball into the box from the right hand side dropped perfectly for Morrison. He showed all his athletic prowess to bicycle kick the ball goalwards but his goalbound attempt was thwarted by the keeper.

 

Back up the other end, and with the final whistle only moments away, Mary Immaculate won a free kick just inside the UCD half. In time honoured intervarsity football tradition, ten men trundled up to attempt to put the ball in the back of the UCD net. The ball forward was wide of the box but still threatening and several incredible leaps later UCD had cleared the danger.

 

To see more photos from the game, click here

 

The referee blew his whistle and as Tristan Dent jumped for joy he turned to Mick Leahy who took it all in his stride, a perfect snap shot of a Collingwood Cup winning team. The incredible captain that has done it all matched by the desire of the fresh footsoldiers to climb such dizzying heights was the formula UCD blended to make an incredible week, a winning week.

 

UCD AFC: McGinley, Dent, C O'Brolchain, Leahy, Langtry, Doyle (Sexton), Hanley (McCabe), Buckley, McDonald (Wright), Arnold, King (Morrison)