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Big win for UCD to move off bottom of table

The result means the Students leapfrog Finn Harps into ninth.

UCD’s Evan Caffrey celebrates scoring.
UCD’s Evan Caffrey celebrates scoring.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

UCD 2
Finn Harps 1

Patrick O’ Connor reports from Belfield

UCD PICKED UP a hugely significant three points when they defeated Finn Harps by 2-1 at the Belfield Bowl tonight.

Harps started the better of the two sides and mounted a number of good attacks in the opening stages of the match but even with the advantage of an extra man for most of the second half, their play gradually became more ragged and despite six minutes of injury time at the end, they were unable to fashion an equaliser.

The game had a cup-tie atmosphere and referee Derek Tomney was forced to issue nine yellow cards and one red over the course of the 96 minutes of action.

The result means the Students leapfrog Harps at the base of the table into ninth position and thus give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding the automatic drop back to the First Division.

But Harps’ early domination of the game paid off in the 17th minute when they took the lead through a penalty.

Regon Donelon floated in a free kick and Eric McWoods was fouled in the box, with Filip Mihaljevic coolly slotting the resultant free-kick past Healy.

The lead was short-lived, however, as four minutes later the Students were level when Donal Higgins was quickest to react to a ball that hit the post and he fired home from close range.

McWoods had a chance to regain the lead a few minutes later when he took advantage of sloppy play at the back by UCD, but his shot was high and wild.

The hosts were down to 10 men in the 52nd minute when Tomney issued a second yellow card to Dara Keane, who had gone in high on Conor Tourish, who was unable to continue and replaced by Jose Carillo.

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The Students were hardly impacted by the numerical disadvantage, as they took the lead through a stunning thunderbolt from Evan Caffrey that flew into the top corner of the net.

Harps’ play became ragged in the last quarter and they resorted to long balls into the box, which the UCD defence dealt with very capably, and even with the lengthy added time, they were unable to get a scarcely deserved equaliser.

UCD: Lorcan Healy; Sam Todd, Evan Osam, Michael Gallagher, Jack Keaney (Alex Dunne 25) Dylan Duffy, Mark Dignam (John Ryan 75), Evan Caffrey, Dara Keane, Donal Higgins (Sean Brennan 75), Thomas Lonergan.

Finn Harps: James McKeown; Rob Slevin, Regan Donelon (Ryan Rainey 80), Conor Tourish (Jose Carillo 56, Dylan Duncan 80), Ethan Boyle, Elie N’ Zeyi, Ryan Connolly, Barry McNamee (Robert Jones 63) Gary Boylan; Eric McWoods, Filip Mihajlovic.

Referee: Derek Tomney

About the author:

Patrick O'Connor

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