In what was their fourth game of the SSE Airtricity League First Division, UCD AFC took on Cabinteely on Friday evening, the 16th of April at UCD. With The Students drawing two and winning one of their opening three games and Cabinteely winning their two matches in the league so far, it was a third against second bout at the Bowl.

UCD went 1-0 up inside the first ten minutes when goalkeeper Lorcan Healy dealt with a Cabinteely through ball. It was cleared up the middle of the pitch and headed on over the Cabinteely backline. Colm Whelan ran onto the bouncing ball and the striker managed to connect with the side of his foot and hit the back of the net.

Ten minutes later, UCD hit the post when Cabinteely failed to deal with a crossed free kick from the left of the box. It ended on the right side of the Cabo box and centre half Luke Boore hoisted a high ball cross back into the box. Sam Todd, also playing centre half, headed the ball well onto the right post before Cabinteely could clear their lines properly.

On the 25 minute mark, Cabinteely came close to scoring when the ball fell to the edge of the UCD area. They curled a low effort with enough pace on it to beat Lorcan Healy, but it struck the left post and came back out.  

UCD Control vs St Patrick's Athletic
UCD AFC’s Colm Whelan looks to go around Darragh Burns of St Patrick’s Athletic. Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

In the final minute of the half, the Students grabbed a second when a beautifully weighted 15-yard ball over the top met the run of Whelan again who slotted home to the right of Cabo goalkeeper Adam Hayden.

UCD went 3-0 up two minutes into the second half. Whelan could celebrate his hat-trick when he finished inside a crowded box into the bottom right corner.

In the 52nd minute, Cabinteely’s Dean Casey grabbed arguably the goal of the match with a free kick goal just under 25 yards out. From the left hand side, the expected preference of a left-footer would be to lift the ball over the wall into the left corner of the goal. However, Casey opted instead to drill the ball to the goalkeeper’s side and the ball flew into the top right corner.

UCD went 4-1 up to close out the game via a counter attack. The Students broke down the right wing and the ball was squared across to attacking midfielder Donal Higgins who kept his composure to slide the ball into the left corner of the net.

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UCD manager Andy Myler spoke to The College Tribune after the game and expressed his satisfaction with the progress of his team. “I’m unbelievably happy with the squad of players we have.”

Hattrick hero Colm Whelan, among those set of players, was praised highly by the UCD head coach. When asked about him, he stressed his incredible work ethic and sense of character to be two key parts of his game. “If Collie Whelan never scored a goal, he would still play senior football.”

Despite Friday’s domination, Myler is keen for his side to keep improving. “I think we will get better and I think we need to get better.” He suggested that the Students were finding a “rhythm in their play” and that is something that the squad will take into their next fixture away against Galway United next Friday at 7:45pm.

Alex Smith – Sports Writer