UCD AFC 3, DERRY CITY 2
IT’S been a successful yet frustrating season for Derry City’s talented Under-19 squad having lost out narrowly in the final of the Enda McGuill Cup against UCD in the Belfield Bowl on Wednesday night.
Playing on their own patch, the studends compounded Derry’s woes - the “Candy Stripes” having narrowly lost out on winning the Northern Section of the Under-19 League to Bohemians - to capture their first ever SSE Airtricity Enda McGuill League Cup with a hard fought 3-2 victory.
UCD moved into the driving seat on five minutes with a nice piece of opportunism from Daire O’Conchubhair who nipped in to roll the ball into the empty net after a terrible mix-up in the Derry defence between Patrick McClean and goalkeeper Michael Lynch.
However, Derry hit back and came close to an equaliser following a corner that UCD ‘keeper Karl Skinner spilled at the feet of George Kelly but defender, Josh Collins, was on hand to clear the danger.
The strong breeze gave UCD a big advantage and the impressive O’Conchubhair then went on to link up with Gareth Coughan who set up Troy Carey for a strike on goal but his effort carried very little power and Lynch gathered with ease.
Minutes later Greg Sloggett crashed a brilliant volley off the Derry crossbar before the home side went further ahead five minutes before the interval.
The lively Coughlan was on hand to beat Lynch with a smart finish from just inside the box after Carey had played him in on goal with a delightful through pass.
Derry had earlier come close to an equaliser with Chris Flanagan firing a long range free just past the post.
The second half had barely got underway when Derry struck back to reduce the deficit.
UCD ‘keeper Skinner, under pressure, failed to hold a Conor McDermott corner and the ball fell nicely for Ronan Curtis to crash it home from close range.
However, UCD responded in fine style to stretch their advantage on 63 minutes when Jessie Kamm, who had replaced Coughlan five minutes into the half, shot low past Lynch after evading the attention of central defenders McClean and Jack Blake.
Kamm came close to increasing the UCD lead but Lynch was quick off his line to get down and smother the effort.
Derry were still a danger and Curtis saw his shot from distance brilliantly tipped over by Skinner and from the resulting corner McClean put a low header wide.
Then in a storming finish Derry reduced the arrears on 89 minutes when Skinner parried a Ryan Holden shot before Kelly fired home from outside the box.
In time added on McClean headed over as the Foylesiders pressed to take the game into extra-time.
But UCD held on to capture the Enda McGuill Cup for the first time with Daire O’Conchubhair picking up the “Man of the Match” award.
UCD - Karl Skinner; Dan Tobin, Josh Collins, Adam Harney; Darragh McConville; Troy Carey, Dylan Watts, Greg Sloggett, Robert McGee (Sean Byrne 57); Gareth Coughlan (Jessie Kamm 50), Daire O’Conchubhair.
Not used: Ryan Kavanagh, Andy O’Reilly, Jack Menton, Brendan Martin,Maxi Kougoun.
DERRY CITY - Michael Lynch; Aidan McCauley, Jack Blake, Patrick McClean, Gareth McFadden, Conor McDermott (Rory Holden 64), Chris Flanagan (Stephen Mills 78), Ciaron Harkin, Ronan Curtis; Ryan Doherty, Georgie Kelly.
Not used: Dylan Doherty, Dylan McCallion, Shea Dunlop
REFEREE - Paula Brady (Dublin).