Cork City book spot in play-off
SSE AIRTRICITY U19 LEAGUE
CORK CITY 2
CORK CITY withstood a second-half onslaught from UCD at Belfield on Saturday afternoon to book a spot in the SSE Airtricity League U19 play-off quarter-finals.
Despite building up a 2-0 lead courtesy of an opening period brace by Cian Bargary, the rejuvenated Students pegged City back on the resumption. A third goal eluded the hosts in the closing half-hour, however, as Colin Healy’s side claimed the point required to secure fourth place in the Southern Elite Division.
After he picked up possession at a left-hand angle in the seventh-minute, Bargary rifled a fierce shot beyond the reach of UCD netminder Carl Williams. The impressive winger was linking up superbly in attack with lone striker Cian Murphy, while Dale Holland was also effective on the right-flank.
Williams acrobatically tipped over Bargary’s curling strike on 16 minutes to keep UCD in touch, before the City advantage was inevitably doubled. Following a mix-up in defence, Bargary was presented with the simple task of firing into an empty net.
Murphy was marginally off-target at the end of a galloping run, but the Leesiders appeared to be in control when the half-time whistle sounded. The forced withdrawal of left-back Colin O’Mahony six minutes after the break came as a set-back to City – the subsequent introduction of Douwe Van Sinderen leading to a tactical re-shuffle for the visitors.
The UCD management opted for a triple substitution during the interval and this helped them to turn the game on its head. A long-distance free from Luka Lovic was spilled by City custodian David Haddington, leaving replacement Billy Griffin with a simple 55th-minute finish.
Indeed, via an excellent pull-back by Sean Quinn, Griffin grabbed his second in the space of three minutes to completely wipe out UCD’s deficit.
City were placed on high alert for the remainder of the tie, even though U17 star Ricardo Dinanga provided them with impetus off the bench. In comparison to what had preceded it, the final-quarter was largely uneventful.
Luke Hannigan flashed a close-range effort past the City goal in the dying moments of the contest, but City held out.
UCD: Carl Williams; Evan Farrell, Dan Mullen, Luke Boore, Jack Whelan; Sean Quinn, Mark Dignam (Luka Lovic 46); John O’Keane (Yaya Camara 76), Jack Ryan (Luke Hannigan 46), Charlie Smith (Billy Griffin 46); Sean McDonald.
CORK CITY: David Haddington; Shane O’Riordan, Jack O’Sullivan, Ronan Hurley, Colin O’Mahony (Douwe Van Sinderen 51); Joe Meaney (Ricardo Dinanga 65), James O’Sullivan; Dale Holland, Darragh Crowley, Cian Bargary; Cian Murphy.
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).