Shamrock Rovers 0-0 U.C.D.
It’s a measure of how far they have come in such a short space of time that the Hoops’ players went back out at the end of the game for the warm down with their heads down. They felt they should have beaten UCD over the ninety minutes and it would be hard to disagree with them. On the bright side Stephen Rice’s young charges remain unbeaten so far this season.
The College side set their stall out well. They were solid at the back and gave little away; they successfully managed to frustrate the Hoops each them the lads in green and white surged forward. The Hoops are not used to that.
One occasion when Rovers did penetrate the UCD backline was in the 6th minute when Jack Kelly made a brilliant run down the right wing and delivered the ball in to Conor Grant; the latter took aim and shot but his shot was saved by UCD ‘keeper Sean Prenter. Five minutes after that Rovers ‘keeper Kalvin Geragthy timed his advance well to prevent Dylan Reilly from lining up a shot. Soon after that Reilly went close when he sent his chance wide of the near post.
For much of this period it was the visitors who were creating the better chances. They had a free from a dangerous spot in the 33rd minute which Charlie Smith sent straight into the outstretched arms of Geragthy.
Just minutes after that Reilly bore down on goal but he wasn’t given a chance to do anything as Adam O’Connor put in a brilliant tackle to put a stop to the move. Martins Olakanye, who had switched from the right full to the left full berth following the early withdrawal of the injured Eric Abulu, dispossessed Sean Madden and proceeded to go on a fantastic run almost the length of the pitch and deep into the UCD box. The move didn’t come to anything though as the UCD defenders closed him down and one of them managed to get a touch on the ball to clear it away from danger.
Rovers came out in the second half with all guns blazing and it remained like that for much of the time up to the full time whistle. After just two minutes Conor Fitzharris set Dean Williams up with a chance that the striker should have scored from.
One of the best moves of the entire game came in the 56th minute when Fitzharris passed to the constantly industrious Conor Behan in the centre. Behan proceeded to send a good ball into the box where it was met by Andy Spain but he headed it over the bar.
The Hoops continued to apply severe pressure on UCD and they had another great chance in the 76th minute to open the scoring after Olakanye slipped the ball to James Clarke who in turn sent Williams in but his shot was saved by Prenter.
Minutes later Clarke and Williams combined again but it went for a corner. UCD had a rare chance late in the game but Geragthy managed to stretch out a leg and connect with an effort sent in by David Sampson. In the scramble that followed Promise Omochere followed up with an accurate shot but the ball was taken off the line by Olakanye. That was a real let off for the Hoops.
Jack Kelly was furious that he hadn’t been awarded a penalty at the other end after he was impeded by Omochere who caught him on his left foot as he bore down on goal. So it finished with no goals but nevertheless a very entertaining game indeed.
The Rovers team lined out as follows: 1. Kalvin Geragthy; 14. Martins Olakanye, 4. Andy Spain, 5. Adam O’Connor, 3. Eric Abulu; 7. Jack Kelly, 8. Evan Smithers, 10. Conor Grant, 15. Conor Behan, 17. Rhys Murphy; 9. Dean Williams. Subs: Conor Fitzharris for Abulu (14 mins), 19. James Clarke for Murphy (75 mins). Not used: 25. Gavin Bazunu, 18. Dan Howlin, 16. Thomas Hannon.
Match report and photos click here by Robert Goggins.