Triple H: Hanley Harding Hero

UCD defeated NUI Maynooth in the Final of the Harding Cup 2011.5442508904_196d064364_b



The Harding Cup made its was back to Belfield frollowing an enthralling encounter in Maynooth on Sunday. The Freshers of Maynooth and UCD served up a pulsating game that looked like it could swing either way. A Niall Hanley effort 3 minutes from time was enough to separate the sides and start the celebration on the South Side of Dublin.


Under the watchful eye of First Team Coach, Martin Russell, UCD brought the game to their opponents. Maynooth were intent on being aggressive from the start and tried to dominate the midfield. Maynooth played five across the middle hoping to overwhelm Niall Hanley and Tomas O'Brien. UCD's two midfield men were not for waying and stood firm throoughout.


UCD's first chance came from a Tom O'Halloran free kick. A vicious ball swung across the face of the goal was crying out for a decisive touch but none came.5442511280_4d3a16c6f3_b O'Halloran was at it again as he fired another ball across the bows, which was narrowly missed by Cillian Morrison. Niall Wright snuck in at the back post and fired it goalwards only for it to be deflected wide. The resulting corner saw a Morrison header fly just over.


UCD's defence expertly marshalled by Finnegan in goal stood firm. Tristan Dent took a knock putting his body on the line and left the field for several minutes. This was quick becoming the theme of the game as each side looked to asert physical dominance.


Tom O'Halloran could not continue in the second half as Kevin Dunne came on to replace him. Both sides exchanged early shots as the second half settled into the same rhythm as the first. Morrison and Wright had the best of UCD's efforts.


Time ticked by with both sets of players tiring but refusing to give up. Cillian Morrison continued to be a thorn in the side of Maynooth's defence and it was this 5442517302_056a298a5a_bpersistence that would eventually tell. His strenght initially held off his opponent before he turned and headed towards goal. Niall Hanley's ability to support his attackers all game had been a constant and it was to prove decisive. Morrison laid the ball off for Hanley on the edge of the box, one quick glance later and Hanley drew back his foot for the strike that would settle the Harding Cup 2011. His effort was past the Maynooth keeper before he could react and the Cup was going home to a familiar residence.

 To see more photos from the Final click here.

The final whistle brought elation among the UCD team as they celebrated winning a tournament in the best possible way. Four days of energy sapping football had brought its reward. Hanley won the plaudits for his Final strike but the trophy was won on a platform of team spirit and hardwork.


UCD: Finnegan, Westman, Dent, Keogh, Wright, O'Halloran (Dunne), Hanley, O'Brien, Muldowney, Sexton, Morrison