Shamrock Rovers 1 – 0 UCD
This was a well-contested game between two Dublin sides who are more than familiar with one another. Played in 20 degrees at Roadstone this afternoon the referee called for a water break in both halves to allow for the conditions.
UCD showed good shape throughout the first half, moving the ball around thus ensuring the Hoops wouldn’t have it as easy as they have had in some of the games they played so far this season. At the end there was only the one goal in it but there might have been more as both sides did create plenty throughout.
Rovers first real chance came in the 12th minute after Toby Owens put Jack Kelly through to the box but Cormac Moore for the College got in a good challenge to stifle the attack. The play was fairly even up to the break with either side likely to have taken the lead.
For Rovers, centre half Andy Spain made a brilliant block in the 40th minute to prevent a good goal scoring opportunity.
After UCD had forced a corner the Hoops made a quick counter attack with James Clarke sending Jack Kelly on his way to beat the offside trap but Kelly pulled his shot wide. That was a great chance and it would have been serious blow leading up to half time had the Hoops taken the lead.
Just before the half time whistle Danu Bishop sent the ball across the Hoops’ box to Jack Ring but Martins Olakanye stole in with a brilliant tackle to win the ball.
The second half wasn’t as free flowing as the heat was obviously taking its toll and both sides kept it tight. On the 62nd minute Bishop went on a super run but was brought to a halt in the box by a super tackle delivered by Luke Turner. The Ireland Under 16 international who scored against Bulgaria on Thursday had a magnificent game throughout for the Hoops.
Just one minute later and the deadlock was finally broken. Thomas Hannon, who has shown great maturity in the middle of the park this year, picked out Danila Bogdanov who slotted the ball further to Thomas Oluwa who had made a deep run to the end line. Oluwa then returned the favour to Bogdanov who threw himself down low and met the ball with his head to send the Hoops into the lead.
Both sides had chances after that but Bogdanov’s goal proved to be the critical moment of the game.
Substitute Shane Nealon was very unlucky not to have doubled the lead; having beaten off the close attention of a College defender he did everything right as he drove the ball towards the net but it rebounded off the butt of the upright.
Today’s win means that Stephen Rice’s young stars have now made it five wins out of five in their league campaign so far. Their next fixture won’t be for two weeks when they will travel to Galway.
The Rovers line-out was as follows: 1. Gavin Bazunu, 2. Martins Olakanye, 3. Alex Dunne, 4. Andrew Spain, 5. Cian Kelly, 8. Thomas Hannon, 9. Danila Bogdanov, 10. James Clarke, 11. Jack Kelly, 16. Luke Turner, 19. Toby Owens.
Substitutes: 25. Shane O’Rourke, 14. Emmanuel Odeniyi, 15. Thomas Oluwa (for Clarke 60 mins), 17. Jordan Tallon (for Olakanye 82 mins), 7. Dean McMenemy (for J. Kelly 76 mins), 20. James Furlong (for Dunne 70 mins), 23. Shane Nealon (for Bogdanov 64 mins).
Report and photos by Robert Goggins.