The NUI Maynooth team celebrate with the cup. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
College Football

Saints duo O'Brien and Clarke lead NUI Maynooth to first ever Collingwood success

The Kildare man overcame NUI Galway at the UCD Bowl this evening.

NUI MAYNOOTH WON the Collingwood Cup for the very first time in their history with a 2-1 win over NUI Galway at the UCD Bowl this evening.

An early header from Niall Lanigan put the Kildare men in the driving seat and Conor Mahony added a second on 63 minutes after good work by Eoin Hyland down the right.

Galway got themselves back into the game thanks to a stunning long-range effort from Mikey Creane to make it 2-1 with 13 minutes remaining, but Maynooth held on for the victory.

It is an incredible achievement for the university and managerial pair Ger O’Brien and Brendan Clarke must take a huge amount of credit for their success.

The St Patrick’s Athletic team-mates took over in September and, after a strong league showing, upset the odds by knocking current holders UCD out of the famous university cup.

“We beat the two favourites to find ourselves in the final against Galway,” O’Brien told today.

“It’s fantastic for the lads involved. People think it’s only a small competition but it’s a massive one in university football.

“We have a mixture of a good few U19s players, we’ve got Sean Hoare our captain who is a fantastic player and involved in St Pat’s first team. There’s Niall Lanigan who won the First Division with Athlone last year and also Niall Conran up front.

“Then we’ve a couple of Leinster Senior League players who have come through. That is the kind of blend we’ve got and it has worked really well.”

Niall Lanigan with Stephen Rodden NUI Maynooth's Niall Lanigan with Stephen Rodden of NUI Galway. INPHO / Donall Farmer INPHO / Donall Farmer / Donall Farmer

O’Brien has expressed his eagerness to pursue coaching when his playing career finishes and recently completed his UEFA A Licence.

“It is want I want to get into after playing as it doesn’t last forever and in this league you’re never going to come out of it as a millionaire so you’ve got to plan for the future,” he explains.

The way I’m doing that is going through my badges. I’m working different jobs and doing Maynooth and the DDSL U12s which both give me completely different environments.

“It’s what I enjoy doing so hopefully I can have some sort of a career when I finish.

“St Pat’s is my number one and there is no doubt about that because they are the ones who pay my wages but Liam (Buckley) is very understanding and is fully supportive of me going for the roles. If I need the odd time off here or there he’s very good in that respect.

“I think he was player/manager when he was coming to the end of his career at Pat’s so he knows the juggling act that’s involved.”

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