I Got a Whelan, That Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night

UCD AFC overcame Templeogue United in the Final of the Gilligan Cup.web9

When the DJs of Dublin play their end of night songs in praise of either Manchester United or Barcelona, or even Munster, at least one DJ will be pestered into payign tribute to another UCD triumph.


UCD AFC completed a magnificent double on Saturday afternoon in the Golden Ball when the Leinster Senior League Sunday side picked up the Gilligan Cup following an enthralling battle with Templeogue United. UCD went into the game as champions of Leinster Senior League Sunday Senior 1A and their class showed as they out played and battled a stubborn Templeogue side. Goals from Niall Daly and Marc Whelan could not be overturned as the Students picked up another piece of silverware.


The Students playing in all white made a lightening start to the game and for spells looked as if they were going to blow their opponents away. Templeogue United stood firm and defended resolutely in the early periods to snuff out any UCD opportunities.


UCD were hit by a double blow within the first 30 minutes of the game when both Brian O’Reilly and Hugh Davey had to be withdrawn because of injury. Johnweb8 Bourke showed his incredible versatility coming on first at right back before slotting in at left back minutes later. Jack Doyle became UCD’s third right back of the game after half an hour and proved he could have started the game as the quality did not drop following the changes.


The open pitch and strong wind did little to help proceedings initially but had a part to play in UCD taking the lead. Steve Dillon has spent many a Sunday morning pinging balls from the edge of the UCD box on Fosters avenue onto the roof of the Montrose Hotel and his practice paid off with Niall Daly benefitting.


A superb defence splitting ball from UCD’s man of steel at the back confused Templeogue’s centre back and full back, Niall Daly showed no hesitancy, darting in between the two to grab the ball and advance on goal. A tidy finish later and Daly’s screams of joy could be heard back on Fosters Avenue.


Temlpeogue continued to find themselves under pressure with Marc Whelan firing on all cylinders down the right. It was one of his centres that narrowly eluded the arriving Eoin Roche to give UCD the chance of a two goal lead going into the break.


The second half started with United determined to get back into the game. The game looked likely to be won and lost in midfield; and with this the case UCD were in with a shout. James Timmons and Kieran Harte match every challenge and didn’t give an inch as Templeogue flooded forward.


Timmons had a part to play in The Students’ second goal. It was his fierce challenge that won the ball for Marc Whelan. Leaving two defenders in his wake he played a ball to the feet of Niall Daly. Daly beat a player before dropping the ball into the path of the onrushing Whelan. Whelan’s first time strike flew in off the underside of the keeper and UCD had a two goal lead.


It was reminiscent of a Bobby Charlton strike in ’68, rumours James Timmons had been present to see that Charlton goal live could not be confirmed.


web12Templeogue did muster a consolation goal but in all honesty it was too little too late. One lapse in concentration from UCD’s towering back four gave Templeogue hope but they soon rectified the situation and returned to ruthless form to ensure UCD were once again crowned champions.


Click here for more photos of the celebrations!


Many a trophy is lifted by a captain standing on his own but not Niall Daly. Accepting the trophy away from the team he leads was alien to him and to them. Less than a second after the cup was handed over he and the cup were swallowed up in celebration by an incredible team.


UCD: McGroarty, O’Reilly (Bourke), Dillon, C O’Brolchain, Davey (Doyle) , Timmons, Lynagh, Harte, Whelan, Roche, Daly