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U19 Cup: UCD 3 - 1 Dundalk

Match Report thanks to John Hudson

Rob Manley proved to be the UCD hero with two late goals at the Belfield Bowl to shatter Dundalk's hopes of taking the game into extra time and seal the current holders place in the last four of the FAI Enda McGuill Under 19 League Cup.UCD Enda McGuill Cup

Ian Ryan's charges will now join Cork City, Galway United and St Patrick's Athletic in the semi final draw of the competition which UCD claimed for the first time when they defeated Derry City in the 2015 final.

The sides were level at a goal apiece coming into the final minutes of this enthralling cup tie when Manley struck with the match winning goals.

The first came with two minutes remaining when Manley beat Ben Kelly with a brilliant diving header from Cian Ryan's corner on the left after Dundalk full back James Rice had done well to put the ball behind under pressure from Robert McGee.

That goal coming so late in the game looked likely to clinch the win for the holders but Manley was now in confident mood and a third arrived minutes later to put the icing on the cake when he spotted Kelly off his line and his cheeky lob was enough to beat the Dundalk 'keeper from just inside the box.

Midfield skipper Andy O'Reilly had given the home side the perfect start with the opening score after just 12 minutes when his deflected shot wrong footed the Dundalk 'keeper.

Full back Darragh Corcoran had helped set up the goal with a surging run on the right.

Simon Power managed to latch on to the cross and when his shot was blocked O'Reilly pounced to power in a beautifully struck half volley that took a slight touch off a Dundalk defender on it's way to the net.

UCD where looking the more dangerous side and Gareth Coughlan had a shot tipped over by Kelly as Dundalk struggled to stay in the tie.

However impressive striker Michael O'Connor always posed a threat to the home defence who were missing regular central defenders Josh Collins and Liam Scales following their first team appearances the previous night against Athlone Town.

O'Connor had a fine effort blocked by Shane Whelan and later he failed to test Conor Kearns from close in after good work by Jake O'Connor to set up the chance.

Dundalk showed a huge improvement after the break with midfielders Dean Watters, Adam Finnegan and Jake O'Connor getting on top.

While it was Michael O'Connor who finally had them right back in the game with the equaliser six minutes into the half.

The Dundalk striker cleverly spun past Whelan and ran on to a through ball from Jake O'Connor to go on and coolly beat the advancing Kearns with a looping effort.

UCD regained the initiative for a period and O'Reilly was denied by a fine save by Kelly who followed up by turning Aaron Robinson's effort out for a corner.

The visitors also continued to press for a winner and centre back Eric Whelan looked to have grabbed it with ten minutes remaining but his header came off the post and out over the back line.

A crucial decision minutes later saw Michael O'Connor flagged for offside with a clear run on the UCD goal ahead of him although the ball had appeared to have been deflected into his path by defender Jack Manley.

A huge let off for the home side which clearly upset the Dundalk management team.

MAN OF THE MATCH: It has to be Rob Manley for the goals that clinched this big win for Ian Ryan's impressive side.

UCD: Conor Kearns; Darragh Corcoran, Joe Manley, Shane Whelan, Sean Byrne; Robert Manley, Craig Hanlon, Andy O'Reilly, Simon Power; Gareth Coughlan, Conor Crowley.
SUBS: Cian Ryan (for Hanlon 60 mins), Kevin Coffey (for Crowley 75 mins), Robert McGee (for Power 75 mins), Aaron Robinson (for O'Reilly 80 mins), Ryan Hannon (for R Manley 89 mins), Karl Skinner.

DUNDALK: Ben Kelly; James Rice, Anto Reilly, Eric Whelan, Carlton Ubonzoueu; Keith Dalton, Dean Watters, Jake O'Connor, Adam Finnegan, Cormac Boyle; Michael O'Connor.
SUBS: Jordan Kelly (Ubonzoueu 89 mins), Jack O'Keeffe, Alan McQuillan, Sean O'Hanlon, Aaron Casey, Gavin Smith, Oisin Finn.

REFEREE: Michael O'Connor. Assistants: Philip Harrison, Gavin Colfer.