UCD's Colm Whelan (file photo). Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
One foot in the final

UCD take control of playoff semi-final with big win in Limerick

Colm Whelan scored a second-half brace for the Students at the Markets Field.

Treaty United 0


Andrew Cunneen reports from the Markets Field

UCD HAVE ONE foot in the First Division playoff final after a 3-0 win at the Markets Field on Wednesday evening.

Colm Whelan is drawing interest from clubs both domestically and abroad, and his double here won’t do his stock any harm – a quick brace in the final 10 minutes added to a Paul Doyle opener – as the masses exited the Garryowen venue soon after.

Over 3,000 appeared to cram into the Markets Field on a bitterly cold night and the scene was one of relief at the return of meaningful nights moreso than anticipation or expectancy.

UCD had been here before and would have been favoured before kickoff. Their loss to Longford Town in this fixture last year was likely to stand them in good stead.

With chances at a premium, it felt like a mistake would prove costly from the first whistle and that transpired just after the half-hour mark.

Rob Dowling awarded a free-kick on the right flank and Paul Doyle took it quickly, hoping to catch Tadhg Ryan out. The Limerick stopper caught it, but it was to be retaken.

And from that retake, Ryan rose highest, only to flap at the ball and see it trickle into the net behind him. The Limerick side’s most consistent performer throughout the campaign could only half-heartedly appeal for a free kick he was never getting.

As Treaty shuffled the deck, they lost structure and that was punished in the 80th minute when Colm Whelan finished with the calmness the league now expects from him. He came back for an encore 10 minutes late, too – putting the game to bed with a curled finish to the far corner.

The second leg is in four days’ time, but the tie isn’t quite in the balance.

Treaty United: Tadhg Ryan; Charlie Fleming, Sean Guerins, Anto O’Donnell, Marc Ludden; Clyde O’Connell, Jack Lynch, Mark Walsh (Sean McSweeney, 64); Matt Keane (Willie Armshaw, 78), Kieran Hanlon (Dean George, 64), Stephen Christopher (Joel Coustrain, 78).

UCD: Lorcan Healy; Jack Keaney, Sam Todd, Evan Osam; Harvey O’Brien, Sean Brennan (Adam Verdon, 72), Paul Doyle (Evan Caffrey, 89), Eoin Farrell; Dara Keane; Liam Kerrigan (Mark Dignam, 89), Colm Whelan.

Referee: Rob Dowling


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