Kenny rescues a point for a gallant Ramblers side short six regular starters
COBH RAMBLERS……………………………… 1
STEPHEN KENNY came to the aid of Cobh Ramblers at the UCD Bowl last night, as his 62nd-minute penalty ensured that Stephen Henderson’s side shared the spoils with UCD in a compelling SSE Airtricity League First Division clash.
This extends Cobh’s unbeaten run in the league to four games, and following defeats for both Cabinteely and Waterford United yesterday, they have moved up to sixth-place in the second-tier table.
Ramblers were somewhat depleted for their trip to Belfield, with Graham McCarthy and Shane O’Connor both serving suspensions after accumulating five yellow cards.
Kynan Rocks, Andrew Bhandarkar, Darren Murphy (senior) and Peter White were also unavailable for selection, while goalkeeper David Browne had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes after aggravating a shoulder injury.
Despite conceding some early possession to Collie O’Neill’s charges, Cobh did display signs of promise during the opening exchanges.
However, just when they were beginning to gain a foothold in the vital midfield sector, they were issued a hammer blow by the south Dubliners.
Chris Mulhall’s set-piece from the left-wing was met by the head of UCD centre-forward Ryan Swan, who steered the ball beyond the reach of Cobh netminder Stephen Hickey.
This was a major set-back for the St Colman’s Park outfit, who were searching for their first away success.
Kenny’s 23rd minute free-kick from the left-hand side was enticing, but with the UCD back-four keeping a tight rein on their respective markers, shotstopper Niall Corbet gathered the ball with relative ease.
Gary O’Neill was marginally off-target for the Students just shy of the half-hour mark, and thanks to a torrential downpour, both teams found it difficult to develop an attacking rhythm.
Jamie Doyle did have a glorious opportunity to double UCD’s lead on the stroke of half-time, but his glancing attempt was comfortably held by Hickey on this occasion.
Ramblers were still very much in contention when the action resumed, although it was the hosts who continued to offer the greater threat in the final-third.
Eoin Kirwan’s half-volley six minutes after the restart was marginally wide of the mark, as was his long-range piledriver moments later.
Yet, even though they were being forced on the back-foot by UCD, the 56th-minute introduction of Jonathan Creamer provided Cobh with the spark that they needed. Kenny aimed to pick out the substitute with a precise final pass six minutes after his arrival, but although Corbet looked set to bring the move to an end, referee Michael Connolly pointed to the spot after Creamer was upended by the opposition custodian.
This suddenly presented Cobh with a significant lifeline, and from a distance of 12 yards, Kenny calmly found the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
This set-up a grandstand conclusion to the tie, when both sides had opportunities to snatch all three points.
A Creamer strike on 67 minutes was diverted from the target by the feet of Corbet, before Mulhall and Ryan McLaughlin were agonisingly close in their efforts to restore UCD’s one-goal lead.
Darren Murphy (junior) did find the UCD net two minutes into second-half stoppage-time, but after the industrious midfielder was correctly adjudged to have been offside, Cobh ultimately recorded their second draw of the season.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Michael Leahy, Maxi Kougoun, Tomas Boyle (Dylan Watts 83), Ryan McLoughlin; Chris Mulhall, Gary O’Neill, Jack Watson, Eoin Kirwan (Conor Cannon 70), Jamie Doyle (Mark Langtry 78); Ryan Swan.
COBH RAMBLERS: Stephen Hickey; Adam O’Sullivan, Brendan Frahill, Eoghan Murphy, Kevin Mulcahy; Stephen Kenny, Audie Dunlea, Chris McCarthy, Darren Murphy, Ryan Goldsmith; Ronan Stanton (Jonathan Creamer 56).
Referee: Michael Connolly (Donegal).