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Harding Cup Winners


Two well taken set piece first half goals from central defenders plus a late strike helped UCD capture the Irish Universities Harding Cup, the first year's main cup, with a hard fought 3-0 win over Maynooth University in the final at Queen's University Belfast.

After surviving strong Maynooth pressure in the opening period, with good effort from Abdulrasaq Alamu-Tajudeen and Eoin O'Neill both kept out by Cormac Henry's excellent saves, Harvey O'Brien found space in the packed Maynooth area to turn in a well delivered Ciaran Behan corner on 35 minutes.

Minutes later UCD repeated a carbon copy of their opener with O'Brien's his centre half partner Tom O'Connor heading home another fine Behan corner for a 2-0 interval lead.

Prior to the second goal, UCD lost influential winger Liam Kerrigan, who was later named overall player of the three day trournament, to a nasty injury in a Maynooth defender's badly mistimed tackle and after a lengthy period of treatment he was replaced by Joe Carmody.

Maynooth looked to get back into the game after the break and a strong second half-performance saw shots from O'Neill and Leon Kennedy both denied by top class saves from the UCD keeper.

The UCD win was finally wrapped up in the closing minutes with their impressive striker Colm Whelan's brilliant finish beating Malachy Doyle following a neat one-two with Behan.

It's the twentieth Harding Cup win for UCD in the 50 year history of the competition and their first since 2016.

Player of the Tournament: Liam Kerrigan (UCD).

UCD: Cormac Henry; Michael McHugh, Harvey O'Brien, Tomas O'Connor, Ethan Kos; Jack Keaney,Aaron McGrath; Liam Kerrigan (Joe Carmody 43'),Luke O'Connell (Issac Akinsete 39'), Ciaran Behan; Colm Whelan. Not used: Niall O'Reilly, Tommy Tonge, Lorcan Hammond, Pierce Redmond, Emmet Lawless.

MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY: Malachy Doyle; Padraig Finnerty (Neil Macken 83'),Josh O'Toole, Lukas Maher,Dylan Pierce (Conor Burke 57'); James Clarke, Ciaran Burns; Abdulrassaq Alamu-Tajudeen, Success Edogun (Lord Afrika 86'),Leon Kennedy (Callum Worfield 69'); Eoin O'Neill (Patrick O'Sullivan 86').Not used: Cian Kavanagh, Colum Feeney.

Quarter Final Result:
Goals: Colm Whelan x 5, Tomas O'Connor

Semi Final Result:
UCD AFC 5 - 0 NUI Galway
Goals: Liam Kerrigan x 2, Aaron McGrath, Ciaran Behan, Pierce Redmond

Final Result:
UCD AFC 3 - 0 Maynooth University
Goals: Harvey O'Brien, Tomas O'Connor, Colm Whelan