Shamrock Rovers 1-1 UCD
This was a fantastic game of football played this afternoon between first placed UCD and third in the table Shamrock Rovers. Striker Dean Dillon was injured in training last night and played no part today while goalkeeper Luca Gratzer had to sit it out on the bench as he had a dead leg. Aaron Bolger and James Doona, who both featured in the 3-0 defeat of Shelbourne in the 2nd round of the FAI Cup last night, both started this game.
The first half was evenly contested and ended scoreless. The game ended in high drama with the Hoops taking the lead in time added on and UCD equalising. Darragh Gibbons had to go off in the 25th minute through injury but he had been involved in some really composed defending in the 13th minute when he put in a timely tackle on UCD’s Jack Ryan. Cian Collins made a super intervention in the 16th minute with a header at the expense of a corner. From the corner Bazunu made one of the many brilliant saves he produced over the rest of the game.
In the 20th minute left full Conor Gleeson switched to Josh Hogan on the opposite side and the latter went close with a drive over the bar. Two minutes later Ryan shot at goal for UCD but Bazunu got his foot to it and kicked it away. Joe Manley had a header for College which he sent over the bar when Gibbons was off the pitch getting treatment before he was replaced by Harry Cornally. That had been a particularly good spell for UCD but then the Hoops went on a good run themselves putting the visitors onto the back pedal in the process.
Richie English was fouled in the 35th minute and took the free kick himself which College ‘keeper Finn McGowan pushed over the bar. UCD counter attacked and captain Andy Reilly set up Ryan with a shot which he struck the upright. The ball broke loose and Mark Dignam got onto it but drove his effort wide. In the 41st minute Hoops’ right full Conor Fitzharris went close with a shot he put just over the bar. For UCD, Yoyo Mahdy headed wide after some great play down the right.
The second half continued much the same as the first with Gleeson providing Michael O’Connor with a good opportunity which the striker forced McGowan into saving. Mahdy then broke away for College but his run was brought to a halt by a wonderful tackle from Collins. This was soon followed by a brilliant block on Kevin Coffey from Sam Bone. The big English lad was in action again in the 54th minute when he managed to take a shot from Mahdy off the line much to the relief of his teammates. Richie English and O’Connor both had good chances for Rovers after that.
Bazunu made a wonderful save in the 84th minute after Jack Ryan played Cian Ryan in and this was followed at the opposite end by a save by McGowan from an O’Connor drive. The game was still scoreless when it moved into time added on and in the 91st minute Bone and O’Connor interlinked in a move that saw Bone being denied by a brave tackle from Luke Boore with the UCD defender hurting himself in the process and having to be replaced.
The lead goal came in the 94th minute and began with a throw in on the right from Sean Callan. Adam Doyle sent in a high ball from the left which was met by Emmanuel Lawal who rose high and headed into the net. 90 seconds later and UCD equalised after they attacked from the left and Sean McDonald beating the defence to make it 1-1 with what was the very last piece of action.
Shamrock Rovers: 30. Gavin Bazunu; 2. Conor Fitzharris, 15. Darragh Gibbons, 16. Cian Collins, 3. Conor Gleeson; 19. Josh Hogan, 6. Sam Bone, 10. Richie English, 18. Aaron Bolger, 8. James Doona; 9. Michael O’Connor.
Substitutes: 4. Harry Cornally (Gibbons 25 mins), 17. Adam Doyle (for Doona 77 mins), 22. Evan White, 1. Luca Gratzer, 21. Sean Callan (for Fitzharris 91 mins), 21. Emmanuel Lawal (for English 87 mins), 11. Luke Kiely (for Hogan 64 mins)
Report and photos by Robert Goggins.