Shamrock Rovers 2-1 U.C.D.
The third and final game for the underage teams was played tonight at Roadstone with Damien Duff’s Under 15s earning themselves a deserved victory against a competitive UCD side. When the sides met earlier during the summer at Marley Park the Hoops were clear winners but this time round they had to dig deep to get the win. Their second half performance, when the College side finally ran out of steam, earned them the win but it took two Evan Caffrey spot kick conversions to get the goals.
Sinclair Armstrong, fresh from his first team debut at United Park last night against Drogheda, lined out for Rovers. Just four minutes had been played when Armstrong found himself in a one on one situation with UCD keeper Joe Allidine and attempted a slick finish but perhaps it was too slick and the custodian managed to keep the ball out. Two minutes later Oisin Hand travelled with the ball as far as the half way line and took a shot but it went wide.
It had been a very lively start from the Hoops but so also from their opponents who sent out an early message that they would were not going to sit back. Still, we were only as far as the seventh minute when Allidine produced a fingertip save to deny Roland Banya a goal after the winger delivered a decent effort in from the left.
Ger O’Connor for UCD travelled with the ball into the Rovers’ box in the 13th minute but didn’t get the chance to make it count as Killian Cahill quickly advanced and kicked the ball back upfield.
UCD had another decent opportunity in the 22nd minute when Hamzat Salam benefitted after Rovers gave the ball away in the middle of the park but immediately three defenders closed in and prevented Salam from getting anywhere. Just a minute later Kyle O’Connor for Rovers slotted a long low pass to Armstrong who stayed onside to manage a shot but Allidine managed to get a block on the ball and Armstrong hit the side netting with his second effort. There was another super opportunity in the 32nd minute for the Hoops to take the lead when a move involving Conan Noonan, Banya, Armstrong and Caffrey ended with the latter shooting but Allidine saved. While both sides were enjoying plenty of possession the Hoops were the more dangerous and they came at UCD again when James Harold played the ball to Kyle O’Connor who continued with a powerful shot but this went wide.
Just before half time Kyle Duff tried an effort for UCD but Cahill got up high to save.
Four minutes into the second half Noonan and Banya combined to see Armstrong in but the big lad finished into the arms of the UCD keeper. It was much the same as the first half with Rovers creating the better chances and Caffrey, Armstrong and O’Connor all tested Allidine before the deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark after Armstrong was fouled inside the box. Caffrey calmly slotted home from the spot to make it 1-0. Just two minutes later and the team captain again delivered from another penalty to make it 2-0. The lead was short lived though as Ciaran Smyth headed home following a corner kick to put the College side right back into it. There was a flurry of activity at the other end after that and only the heroic efforts of keeper Allidine kept the score at 2-1. Nathan Anyanwu slipped the ball to Hand in the 78th minute but the defender sent his effort wide. UCD were reduced to ten players two minutes later following a brief fracas on the right touchline; by that stage, although they led by a slim margin, the Hoops were basically home and dry. They will now turn their thoughts to next week’s second round cup game at the scene of last night’s shock defeat by the first team when they will travel to take on Drogheda United.
Shamrock Rovers: 1. Killian Cahill, 2. Matthew Scott, 3. Kevin Platon, 4. Oisin Hand, 5. Adam Wells, 6. Evan Caffrey (c), 7. Roland Banya, 8. James Harold, 9. Sinclair Armstrong, 10. Kyle O’Connor, 11. Conan Noonan.
Substitutes: 14. Jamie Callaghan, 15. Charlie Gallagher, 16. Nathan Anyanwu, 25. Kian Moore, 18. Sami Clarke.
Report and photos by Robert Goggins