AUL 2 Feature
UCC 2 Evergreen 0
Ian O'Callaghan and Erik Wieman struck the goals, as UCC went top of the table in Murphy’s Stout AUL 2 with a 2–0 Thursday night win over Evergreen in a lively game at the floodlit Mardyke. The College side were cheered on by their 3B side, who also top their rankings.
The winners were not at all flattered by their winning margin. They dominated possession but were made to work hard all the way by Evergreen who were understrength and had to rely on a couple of veterans to fill the gaps but still managed to mount a well organised rearguard action.
The losers also fought well in midfield and had useful outlets in the likes of Ian Gory and Kevin O'Connell, each well able to hold onto the ball and frustrating the opposition even if they never got through to threaten the UCC goal.
The winners spent most of the game on the attack and had their hard luck stories – Wieman hit the bar before they opened their account – but one suspected that a little extra coolness in the heat of the attack might well have produced extra benefit.
UCC attacked from the opening whistle and Evergreen keeper Liam O'Sullivan was kept busy and did well in the 13th minute to hold Anto Buckley’s shot after impressive set-up play by Brian Buckley.
Evergreen had a big escape three minutes later. Then UCC full back Ger Creedon got to the end line and curled over a cross that wasn't cut out. Wieman came in at the back post and looped a header over O'Sullivan but it came down off the bar before being cleared.
The pattern of the game was set but still UCC could find no way through. In the 33rd minute, O'Sullivan made a rare error and dropped a cross. Andy Burke went in where it hurts but got no reward, a goal kick awarded after the ball ricocheted behind.
Burke had worked hard for his side and did get his reward in the 42nd minute. Then he was tripped down in the box and referee Andy Mylod pointed to the spot. Ian O’Callaghan's penalty beat O'Sullivan but Mylod ordered a retake, which was also confidently put away by the UCC striker.
Just on half-time, Burke set up a shooting chance for Wieman but the shot, though well driven, was some way over the bar. It was still one way traffic in the second half. Burke volleyed softly at keeper O'Sullivan after O’Callaghan had placed Wieman for a cross.
In the 59th minute, Wieman slipped a neat ball through the back for James Murphy but keeper O'Sullivan got there first. Then another impressive Wieman cross broke in the box and both Burke and Brian Buckley had shots blocked down as College fought hard for the clinching second.
It came in the 71st minute. For once, the Evergreen defence strayed too far as a unit and a precise ball through by Anto Buckley allowed Wieman time and space and he coolly ran on into the box and slotted the ball low past the advancing keeper.
The winners came close to a third in the closing minutes, again form a terrific Wieman cross, this intended for sub Noel Nicholson but a superbly timed headed intervention by central defender Brian Maher prevented the goal.
UCC: Tony O'Sullivan, Ger Creedon, Mark Stone, Michael Twomey, John McCarthy, Brian Buckley, Andy Burke, Anto Buckley, Erik Wieman, James Murphy and Ian O'Callaghan. Subs used: Eoin O'Reilly and Noel Nicholson for Stone and Murphy (both 66th minute).
Evergreen: Liam O'Sullivan, Cormac Harrington, Mark Maher, David Brady, Mathias Bøttrn, Bran Maher, Paul Hogan, Michael Mohally, Ian Gory, Kevin O’Connell and Eamonn Hayes.
Referee: Andrew Mylod.