On a miserable night at the Mardyke Arena, UCC Seniors took a break from league duty to play an intervarsity game against University of Limerick. The wind was high and westerly, the rain torrential; there was no doubting that the weather was going to impact on the course of this game.
Fortunately, the football itself was not as bad as the weather. The sand base of the pitch ensured maximum absorption and no doubt ensured the game was able to go ahead at all. The majority of the pitch maintained itself despite the weather, although one corner of the field quickly became a mire.
UCC began the game going from left to right from the stand-side and it was the top right corner from their point of view that developed into a bog. This made things very difficult for the College men since it meant that balls out to the right wing had to be severely curtailed for much of the first half.
On that bogged down right wing, Sean Stokes played his heart out, battling not just with the Limerick backs but the puddle of water around his feet. In spite of these difficulties he managed to put in a couple of good crosses, and engage in some great link-up play with Josh O’Shea in the early part of the first half. Paul Walsh of UL had a fine strike at goal on the twenty minute mark, but it went just wide.
The last big moment of the first half came when confusion in the box saw UL have a good penalty shout, but it was not entertained one bit by the referee.
As the rain continued to pelt down, the wind rose and the temperature continued to drop, the bog developing in the top right corner of the field continued to spread towards the centre of the pitch edging the corner of the eighteen yard box.
One change occurred at half time with Luke Burgess coming in for UCC. With UCC now playing against the wind and the right-wing once again free for use, the men wearing the Skull and Bones were able to open up their play and use the channels to create a lot more chances in the second half. UL’s Robert Egan was tested greatly at the restart, making a brilliant save on forty-seven minutes.
UL’s Dave McGrath was able to get away a good strike that went just to the right of the post on the fiftieth minute mark, after UCC had been given offside. Eric Hegarty and Eoin Kilcommon displayed some great link up play but were snuffed out by great defending once again from the UL back-line.
After this Rufus Holmes and Dave O’Donovan made their way on to the pitch in place of Kilcommon and Max Taffe respectively. Holmes played a blinder, to put it simply, creating close to a dozen chances down the left wing for College. He assisted in the first goal with a simple cross. The goal came on the seventy-fifth minute mark and put UCC in the driving seat. There were a flurry of chances, and Holmes will feel he could have had a goal or two of his own.
UCC split the UL defence on a number of occasions, and despite UL’s best efforts at deploying the offside trap, they couldn’t keep UCC back who were rewarded with yet another goal, which was effectively the last action of the game.
UCC: Kieran McEnery, Max Taffe, Shane O’Callaghan, Ciaran Forde, Kyle O’Sullivan, Mike McSweeney, Sean Stokes, Rob Waters, Josh O’Shea, Eric Hegarty, Eoin Kilcommon. Subs: Paul Lawless, Luke Burgess, Dave O’Donovan, Richard O’Donovan, Shane Hegarty, Rufus Holmes.
UL: Robert Egan, Brendan Daly, Pat Durkan, Phil Lavan, Nigel Stanley, Alan Quill, Michael Deady, Brian Cleary, David Downey, Dave McGrath, Paul Walsh Subs: Rob Doyle, Rob Phelan, Eoin Burke, Dan Clinton, Alan Coleman, Jamie Richardson.
Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express