By Graham Cummins for EchoLive.ie
Cork City suffered defeat in their penultimate game of the season after a Colm Whelan penalty was enough to give UCD the victory at the UCD Bowl in the First Division on Friday night.
There were two changes from the City side that successfully defeated Wexford in their last outing. Alec Byrne and Gordon Walker both missed out, with Josh Honohan back in the team after his involvement with the U21 Republic of Ireland team, while captain Gearoid Morrissey also made a welcome return to the side.
City came into the game undefeated in their last five league away fixtures, while UCD were looking to end a miserable run which has seen them lose their last three games in all competitions.
The City players wore black armbands in memory of the late Trevor Hemmings who sadly passed away earlier in the week.
UCD threaten early on in the game. The league’s top scorer Whelan looked dangerous in attack and he was the creator of two opportunities but neither were taken by Liam Kerrigan and Adam Verdon.
Morrissey started to make his presence felt in the game, and the midfielder registered City’s first effort on target. However, it failed to trouble Lorcan Healy in the UCD goal.
City controlled early proceedings in the game with the students looking to play on the counter-attack against the Rebel Army.
Both sides’ defences were on top in the opening 20 minutes with neither side creating any clear-cut opportunity.
City were careless in possession at times, with passes often being intercepted by UCD players that led to counter-attacks.
Whelan looked the standout player, with the Irish u-21 international showing all the signs of why he is regarding as one of the best players in the division. The striker was linking play excellently and asked a lot of questions of the City defence.
The Students showed more ambition as the half grew and started to look the more dangerous of the two sides.
David Harrington was called into action when he had to prevent a Liam Keaney free-kick from giving the Students the lead. The City goalkeeper made light work of Keaney’s effort to keep the game scoreless.
Three minutes from half-time, UCD were awarded a penalty after Harrington was penalised for bringing down a UCD player. From the resulting penalty, Whelan finished emphatically.
Harrington denied Whelan his second moments later after the goalkeeper superbly denied the striker when through on goal. Harrington was quick off his line to narrow the angle for Whelan and the division’s top scorer could not find a way past the City keeper.
Colin Healy was obviously not impressed by what he saw in the first half with the City manager making a triple substitution during the interval.
One of those brought into the game; Alec Byrne, had the first sight of goal in the second half but Healy did well to stop his effort.
The three substitutions were having a positive impact for City. They brought more energy to the team after what was a sluggish first-half performance from City.
Cian Coleman almost drew the sides level but saw his headed effort go narrowly wide. Sam Todd came close to doubling his team’s advantage but failed to hit the target.
Dylan McGlade looked threatening, with the Student’s defence struggling to cope with the directness of the City player. Cian Murphy could have done better late on, but City were unable to salvage a point.
Referee: Alan Patchell.