UCD AFC secured promotion to Major 1 Division.
UCD AFC needed to avoid a defeat by ten goals or more to guarantee promotion to the Leinster Senior League Saturday Major 1 Division. Not only did they avoid the ignominy of a heavy defeat, they put three goals past their hapless, relegated opposition and secured promotion in style. Goals from Sean Geoghegan, Niall Hanley and David Campion secured all three points and a place at the second top table of Saturday LSL football.
UCD did not have it all their own way as they took on Celbridge Town. Form would suggest an easy victory for the Students, as Celbridge had already been relegated but it proved to far from easy as the first half settled into a rhythm. UCD constantly attacked their opposition but they were not for moving. David Campion belied his years as he rushed into space in the 25th minute and unleashed a stunning shot, worthy of contemporary and alleged schoolmate, John Giles. The effort was destined for the top corner before the visiting keeper intervened with an athletic save.
It was the David Campion show as UCD set up camp in the opposition half. Another piece of skill from the diminutive whirlwind found Campion in space and his cross was met by the head of Niall Hanley. The Limerick man rose majestically and illegally as he knocked the ball into the net, the referee spotted the infringement and the goal was ruled out. Taking the lead from his mentor, Saheed Ogunfowora pulled off a few Campion-esque step overs to dance into the box before smashing a shot off the post. The ball bounced to safety and UCD somehow went in at the break all square.
The second half saw the UCD dominance continue but still there was no breakthrough. Campion was again at the heart of the attacks and 5 minutes into the second half he earned his side a penalty. Dancing majestically into the box he was cruelly felled by a ruthless challenge and the referee pointed to the spot. Campion took a moment to check his hips were in full working order before getting to his feet to watch Danny Fallon place the spot kick to the keeper's left. The keeper guessed right...or left as it was and UCD retained their proud record of missing as many penalties as possible at Saturday level.
Celbridge took heart from this let off and created a scare of their own at the other end as they tried to take advantage of a number of mistakes in the UCD rear guard. Last ditch defending from Rob Keogh in particular meant UCD escaped without conceding a goal.
Niall Hanley had been determined to score all week and when Saturday came he took his opportunity. Another UCD attack looked to have broken down on the edge of the box before Hanley arrived and smashed an effort goalwards, the overworked Celbridge keeper reacted too late and the ball sped past him into the back of the net. It was the breakthrough UCD had waited for and not long afterwards they had their second.
Taking advantage of Paul Curtin's spilled blood before the game, Sean Geoghegan stepped into the breach and put in a fine performance. The wingman's last game in UCD colours before a trip to sunnier climes saw him leave with a goal. Geoghegan has one of the most accurate left feet in the Club but he didn't need it as he latched onto a Saheed Ogunfowora ball and finished from fully 2 yards out. Geoghegan's famous standing foot could have been deployed but it was better not to risk it as UCD took a 2 goal lead.
Two became three as Ogunfowora again drove at the heart of the Celbridge defence. His shot cannoned back off the crossbar and hit Campion in the head. The impact of the ball hitting skull seemed to knock the veteran for six, either that or he was introducing a bizarre new celebration. Either way Campion had the goal his play deserved and UCD's promotion was secure.
UCD finished out the match allowing themselves the luxury of bringing on big Brian Doherty. The former WWE athlete and cage fighter made a significant impact as soon as he came on. Unfortunately it was on the ground. Moving forward with the ball Doherty suddenly had his legs taken from under him, suggestion that his lower body could not withstand the pressure of carrying his immense upper body was laughed off as the giant striker came crashing to earth. With no illegal infringement the referee played on and Doherty sheepishly brought himself back fully erect. Doherty's introduction was not a complete waste as his fall gave the new sports facility its first minor earth tremor and it survived fully intact, ready for business. Just like UCD as they continue to rise through the Leinster Senior League ranks.
UCD AFC: Barber, Fallon, Doyle, Keogh, Wright, Ogunfowora, Byrne (O'Brien), Campion, Hanley (Culleton), Sutton (Doherty)