Match Report: UCD 0-0 Cork City

Match Report: UCD 0-0 Cork City

Cork City and UCD played out a fairly uneventful 0–0 draw in Belfield on Friday night as the title favourites dominated most of the game over The Students.

The match kicked off around ten minutes later then scheduled as referees around the league staged a protest over pay.

City manager Tim Clancy named an unchanged starting eleven from their 3–0 victory in the Cork Derby last Friday, with the only change in the squad being third-choice keeper Daniel Moynihan on the bench over second-choice Aidan Dowling.

UCD, managed by William O’Connor, made three changes to their lineup after their 1–1 draw away to Finn Harps last time out, with usual starting centre-back and captain Harvey O’Brien replaced by Niall Holahan. Winger Mikey McCullagh was shown a straight red against Harps, and was suspended for this fixture. Colin Bolton made his first start of the season for The Students, and Donal Higgins also started after an appearance as a substitute in Finn Park.

The game kicked off on a bright, cool evening in the Capital, a stark contrast to the evening City endured against Cobh Ramblers the previous Friday.

Cork City kicked off and put pressure immediately on The Students, and in the opening twenty minutes City had the majority of the chances.

The Leesiders had a penalty shout 19 minutes in, as Jack Doherty capitalised on a slip from UCD full-back Harry Curtis at the back, with Doherty claiming the ball and dribbling into the right corner of the box before being pushed over by the UCD man. The referee didn’t see a foul, and play resumed.

The game fell to a bit of a lull after that as City’s intensity faded away, with both teams preferring to play a pinball style of football for most of the first half.

City had a bigger penalty shout two minutes before the break, as Harry Nevin sent a long ball up his right-hand side to Barry Coffey, who drove a low cross into the danger area, where Cathal O’Sullivan was dragged down by a UCD defender as they tussled for the ball. The City players and bench were adamant that O’Sullivan was fouled, but ultimately the referee disagreed.

The game was scoreless at half-time, with City most definitely the better team in the first forty-five, having the majority of the ball and undoubtedly the bigger chances.

The Rebel Army started the second half exactly how they started the first, putting major pressure and intensity on The Students in search of an early goal, but admittedly The Students began to play a much better brand of football at the start of the second half, with better passing and link-up play on display.

City midfielder Barry Coffey gave UCD their first major scare, as in the fifty-eight minute UCD keeper Kian Moore punched a City cross as far as Coffey, who controlled the ball down off his chest, let the ball bounce and struck a beautiful shot from outside the box, to which Moore made an equally beautiful save to deny a certain goal of the season contender.

Substitutions began to be made on the hour mark, Cathal O’Sullivan and Cian Bargary were taken off as City introduced young attacker Jaden Umeh and winger Nathan Wood to the game, and five minutes later Jack Doherty was taken off and loanee Sean Murray was brought on.

UCD also utilised their bench, as they brought on their 2023 season top scorer Danú Kinsella-Bishop, to try break the deadlock.

In the seventy-third minute another chance befell the visitors. Greg Bolger’s corner was cleared out of the box by a UCD head, and bounced once in the D area and was struck on the half-volley by Cork City player Evan McLaughlin, but his attempt ultimately sailed to the left and wide.

Barry Coffey was next to be replaced, as Tim Clancy brought Josh Fitzpatrick onto the field of play.

Cork City kept all the possession as they have in almost all their games this season, but couldn’t seem to penetrate the UCD defence.

In the eighty-sixth minute City produced a great string of passes to set-up Jaden Umeh down the left wing, Umeh skillfully skipped into the box, past two UCD defenders and had a shot, but his shot was straight at UCD keeper Kian Moore, which didn’t do much to trouble him.

City began getting more desperate for a late winner, as the final opportunities came in injury time.

Substitute Fitzpatrick drove a signature Cork City low driven cross into the middle of the penalty area which somehow wasn’t finished by any of the four attackers in the box.

Ultimately, it was the last chance of the match as both sides came away with a point apiece. Cork City had an absolutely huge percentage of possession, but couldn’t break down The Students in a game where admittedly neither team did enough to deserve to win.

Next up for the College side is an away trip to Ferrycarrig Park to face fellow play-off hopefuls Wexford FC, and next up for Cork City is a majorly struggling Longford FC team at an undecided venue as of yet due to the sudden indefinite closure of Turners Cross. Details of the venue of that fixture are to come soon. Both games are scheduled to kick-off at 19:45 next Friday, April 19th.

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