UCD manager Andy Myler. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

UCD survive scare to see off Treaty comeback and seal promotion play-off spot

The Students now face Bray Wanderers at a neutral venue in two weeks’ time.


Treaty United 2

(UCD win 4-2 on aggregate)

Dave Donnelly reports from Belfield

UCD SURVIVED A scare to see off a brave Treaty United comeback and set up a First Division play-off final with Bray Wanderers at a neutral venue in two weeks’ time.

The Students had seen the three-goal lead they’d taken to Belfield from Wednesday’s first leg reduced to just one with half-an-hour to play as Treaty threatened an almighty upset.

Goals in either half from Conor Melody and Anthony O’Donnell had given the vocal band of travelling fans belief that the unlikely turnaround might just be one the cards.

There were many worried faces among the home side’s staff and support but they were presented with a slice of fortune when Stephen Christopher was shown a straight red card.

An uncharacteristically wasteful UCD side eventually found the insurance goal they needed when midfielder Adam Verdon beat Tadhg Ryan and Treaty’s challenge finally withered.

UCD coach Andy Myler will be a relieved man after watching his side outfought for the guts of an hour as they once again failed to produce the short-passing football for which they’re known.

Tommy Barrett’s Treaty aren’t a side to look a gift horse in their mouth and their commendable performance in their first season has been based on hard work, determination and no small amount of skill.

All three qualities were in display for the opening goal, which came courtesy of a mix-up in the UCD defence and a finish finish from the returning Melody.

The midfielder anticipated the loose ball as Harvey O’Brien and Eoin Farrell went for the same ball and volleyed into the bottom corner, though Lorcan Healy will feel he should have saved.

The considerable band of travelling fans, who had come more in hope than expectation, serenaded their side with chants of, “We’re going to win 4-0!”

And they were to control lengthy periods of the first half as they sought to keep things tight and deny UCD the space to create chances for the prolific Collie Whelan and Liam Kerrigan.

Tadhg Ryan was at fault for Paul Doyle’s fortuitous opener in the first leg but he more than made up for it with a string of top stops, starting with a fingertip save to deny Kerrigan.

Whelan looked certain to have pulled the Students level on the night with a near-post header but this time it was Marc Ludden who smuggled the ball off the line.

A bright start to the second half yielded more UCD chances, Kerrigan flashing a shot over before Ryan denied Whelan at the back post after Paul Doyle unselfishly teed up the striker.

Just when UCD seemed to have their tails up, Treaty doubled their lead as Ludden found Christopher in space and he clipped in an inswinging cross for O’Donnell to thump home.

The visiting fans’ elation turned to angst moments later as Christopher was shown a straight red card as he went in late on Farrell and caught the full back with his studs.

Dean George had a chance to level the tie moments later, however, following a mistake from Farrell’s replacement Michael Gallagher, but UCD soon took control.

Whelan did brilliantly to dig himself out of the corner and find the late run of Dara Keane, and the midfielder picked out Verdon, who toe-poked home from close range.

Ryan pulled off a number of fine stops to keep Treaty in it late on, though the best chance fell to Whelan, who somehow managed to miss an open goal when set up by Kerrigan.

Sub Willie Armshaw could have set up a grandstand finish as he was presented with a free header but he couldn’t find the target and Treaty’s challenge finally began to flag.

UCD: Lorcan Healy; Eoin Farrell (Michael Gallagher 57), Harvey O’Brien, Sam Todd, Evan Osam; Jack Keaney, Adam Verdon (Evan Caffrey 83), Dara Keane; Liam Kerrigan, Paul Doyle (Mark Dignam 66), Colm Whelan.

Treaty United: Tadhg Ryan; Charlie Fleming (Matt McKevitt 79), Mark Walsh (Sean Guerins 81), Anthony O’Donnell, Marc Ludden; Clyde O’Connell, Jack Lynch, Conor Melody (Joe Collins 79); Joel Coustrain (Matt Keane 68), Stephen Christopher, Dean George (Willie Armshaw 79).

Referee: Alan Patchell (Dublin).


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