UCD fell to their second one odd goal defeat in a week as Shelbourne kept their unbeaten start to their Division One campaign alive. A lively game was settled by a set-piece, with Sean Heaney sweeping home Jake Donnelly’s corner, after the referee controversially overruled his linesman.
UCD almost caught the visitors napping inside 5 minutes, as a short free kick presented a shooting opportunity. To the relief of the travelling fans, the ball sailed over the crossbar.
The hosts were looking lively, as a great piece of skill from Dylan Watts, followed by good interplay between Gary O’Neill and Chris Mulhall offered the former a shooting chance inside the box, albeit from a tight angle, which Greg Murray in the Shels goal dealt with comfortably.
It didn’t take Shels long to find their feet, and they had a great chance after 10 minutes. A sweeping crossfield ball from Craig Walsh was teasingly headed back across goal by Alan O’Sullivan, and the onrushing Mark Sandford was a yard away from giving his side the lead.
Mulhall and O’Neill were combining well on the right wing for UCD, and after some neat exchanges, O’Neill crossed towards Jamie Doyle at the far post. From a standing start, he couldn’t generate the power needed to beat Greg Murray, who beat the ball behind to safety.
Both sides were sharp on the break, with Gareth Coughlan looking dangerous for Shels. First, he stung the palms of Niall Corbet in the Students’ goal with a half volley after some neat control on the chest, and moments later he flashed a shot a yard wide after running on to a loose ball.
Corbet was at his best just after the half hour mark, adjusting brilliantly to claw away a Walsh shot that took a big deflection on the way through the UCD defence.
The sides went in level at the break. UCD started the second half as they did the first, on the front foot. Conor Cannon threatened twice in succession, poking a shot straight at Murray, before showing great feet to find a yard in the box, flashing a shot across goal.
Shels were also looking dangerous, and it took a superb diving intervention from Maxi Kouogan to deny Mark Sandford a certain goal.
Murray saved with his feet from Doyle as the game began to open up. For all the good play on display, it was a setpiece that broke the deadlock. The referee controversially overruled his linesman to award Shels a corner. Donnelly’s delivery was inch perfect, finding the onrushing Sean Heaney to bundle home.
UCD responded well, with Doyle forcing Murray to beat a left-footed half volley behind as it flew towards his bottom corner.
Shels could have doubled their lead, as UCD began to push for an equaliser. Donnelly’s free kick from twenty yards hit a mass of bodies, and somehow, an attacking foot poked the ball wide from eight yards. The Shels number 6 was again the provider, as his corner delivery was met by Walsh, only for the impressive Kouogun to clear off the line.
UCD pressed hard for an equaliser, but couldn’t carve out a clear chance. After four minutes of stoppage time, the referee blew for full time, as the three points went home with the visitors.
UCD: 1. Niall Corbet, 13. Dan Tobin, 2. Sean Coyne, 12. Ryan McLaughlin, 24. Maxi Kouogun, 6. Greg Sloggett, 11. Chris Mulhall, 8. Gary O’Neill, 9. Conor Cannon, 26. Dylan Watts, 17. Jamie Doyle.
Subs: 16. Conor Mackey, 21. Adam Harney, 15. Ryan Swan, 19. Eoin Kirwan, 7. Samir Belhout, 14. Daire O’Connor.
Shelbourne: 1. Greg Murray, 2. Daire Doyle, 3. Evan Osman, 4. Ryan Robinson, 5. Sean Heaney, 6. Jack Donnelly, 7. Gareth Coughlan, 8. Craig Walsh, 9. Mark Sandford, 10. Adam Kehoe, 11. Alan O’Sullivan
Subs: 12. David Ryan, 13. Jordan Keegan, 14. Philip Hughes, 15.Colm Crowe, 17. Conor Earley, 18. Darragh Gannon, 20. Dylan McGlade
Gavin Nugent, Pundit Arena