League Team 2017/18

Back row: Aidan Hyland, Neal Breslin, Sean Byrne, Brian O’Donovan, Jack French, Pat Meghen. Front row: Andrew Kilmartin, Dermot Blaine, Mark Mulvihill, Eoin Sherlock, Gavin Murphy

13/12/2017: UCFL 1-6 AUL; UCFL eliminated from Oscar Traynor

The UCFL were eliminated from this season’s Oscar Traynor competition after a disappointing 1-6 defeat to the AUL in the VEC Sportsground on Saturday afternoon (09/12/2017).

There was little hint of what was to come during the opening exchanges, with the UCFL going close to taking the lead in the first minute. Indeed, the UCFL contributed strongly to what was a fairly even contest for the first 39 minutes, with a number of half chances at both ends. UCFL keeper Brian O’Donovan was required to tip a shot over after 22 minute and full-back Dermot Blaine made a vital interception 10 minutes later at the expense of conceding corner, but other than that, the UCFL appeared to be fully in contention. However, on 38 minutes, the UCFL had an initial narrow escape as a deflected shot drifted just wide, but, while John Lester’s header came back off the post from the resulting corner it proved to be a false reprieve as the rebound was returned to the net from the edge of the area.

Less than two minutes later, a swift AUL attack down their left wing ended with a low cross finding Paul McMillan completely unmarked in front of goal and he duly made no mistake for 2-0. This goal seemed to demoralise the UCFL and their spirits took a further hammering by the circumstances of the third goal which saw a fine chip over UCFL keeper Brian O’Donovan come back off the post only to be returned to the net by the unfortunate O’Donovan who was unable to avoid running into the ball after he had sought to save the original AUL effort. And, as if to rub salt into the UCFL’s wounds, Neal Breslin was rather harshly penalised for handball in the box on half-time, allowing John Lester to put the AUL 4-0 up from the spot.

After conceding 4 goals in 6 minutes approaching half-time, it soon became 5 in a total of 9 minutes when Pat McMillan grabbed his second just 3 minutes after the break.

Losing 0-5 with over 40 minutes left, things looked bleak for the UCFL at that point, but they finally dug in and managed to limit the damage for the rest of the game. They began by pulling a goal back on 52 minutes when Gavin Murphy’s free kick on the left was headed in by Pat Meghen. With this boost, the UCFL pressed for another, but were caught by another sucker punch on 55 minutes. The move began with the interception of a UCFL attack inside the AUL six-yard box and a quick counter attack saw McMillan racing clear at the other end just seconds later before slotting low into the net past the onrushing UCFL keeper.

That goal ended the scoring as the UCFL kept their goal intact for the rest of the game. While the UCFL had competed well for the opening 40 minutes, there was no mistaking the quality in the AUL side, which contained many of the leading junior players in the country, whenever the UCFL afforded them any space. In the circumstances, it was particularly unfortunate that at least a couple of the AUL goals approaching half-time were conceded rather softly, turning the UCFL’s task from difficult to impossible.

With their Oscar Traynor involvement now ended, the UCFL team have no further games currently scheduled for this season. There is a possibility that a game against the Amateur League might be arranged for the High Park Trophy, a trophy originally presented for an annual challenge game between the two Leagues, but this will depend on a number of factors to be considered after Christmas.

UCFL: 1 Brian O’Donovan (Harding), 2 Dermot Blaine (Coolock Village), 3 Gavin Murphy

(VEC FC), 4 Neal Breslin (VEC FC), 15 Eoin Sherlock (Swords Manor), 6 Jack French (Coolock Village), 17 Sean Byrne (Aston Village), 8 Mark Mulvihill (South William Street Celtic), 9 Andrew Kilmartin (VEC FC), 10 Aidan Hyland (VEC FC), 11 Pat Meghen (VEC FC). Subs – Sean Bonner (Harding) for Byrne (45 mins), Conor McGreal (Castle Celtic) for French (45 mins), Neil Love (SWSC) for Sherlock (60 mins), Eddie Murray (Rathmines Roosters) for Blaine (70 mins), Dan Murphy (Beech Park) for Mulvihill (75 mins), Alan Keane (VEC FC).

AUL: Lee Murphy, Lloyd Buckley, Phillip Hand, John Lester, Gavin McDermott, Darren O’Brien, Lee Peterson, Anthony McKay, Stephen Donnelly, Paul McMillan, Mark Higgins. Subs – Paul Murphy, Brian Mooney, Shane Farrell, Darren McDonald, Jordan Buckley, Wayne Waldron, Earnest Inanovic

09/12/2017: UCFL 1-6 AUL

The UCFL are out of this season's Oscar Traynor competition after going down to a 1-6 defeat to the AUL in the VEC Sportsground, Terenure, this afternoon. After competing on largely equal terms for the opening 35 minutes, the UCFL team completely lost their way approaching the break and conceded 4 goals in 6 minutes to give the AUL a very flattering 4-0 lead at half-time. There was no way back after that for the UCFL, but they managed to rally somewhat in the second half, pulling a goal back before eventually losing 1-6.

A more detailed report will follow later.

07/12/2017: UCFL to play AUL on Saturday in second Oscar Traynor game

The UCFL representative team will play their second match in this season’s Oscar Traynor competition on Saturday (09/12/2017). The opposition this time will be the Athletic Union League and the match, a home game for the UCFL, will again take place in the VEC Sportsground in Terenure, kicking off at 1.30 p.m. The winner of this tie will proceed to the second round of the competition, while the losing team will be eliminated.

06/11/2017: UCFL 2-3 Carlow League; news from Oscar Traynor opener

The UCFL representative team went down to a narrow 2-3 defeat to the Carlow & District League after a tremendous struggle in Terenure on Saturday afternoon.

Carlow produced an impressive first half performance to lead 2-0 at the break and indeed it could have been more. However, it was a different story after the break, with the UCFL getting to grips with their opponents and clawing their way back into game, eventually equalising with 10 minutes left only for Carlow to strike a late winner to end the UCFL’s comeback.

Carlow were quickly into their stride, almost scoring in the first minute, with a snapshot glancing off the UCFL goal frame.

The UCFL then enjoyed a brief spell of apparent control, but this proved illusory as the Carlow players and team showed a touch and cohesiveness that one might expect from a settled team with a fine recent record in this competition, beaten quarter-finalists last season. Carlow were already showing signs of dominance before they took the lead on the 15 minute mark when Graham Delaney rose unchallenged to head home Craig Comerford’s cross from the right. It got worse just 3 minutes later when Delaney again managed to tee up a low centre and volley home to double his team’s lead.

Carlow thrived for the rest of the half as the UCFL struggled to recover from going two down so early and Carlow threatened again on several occasions, in particular when Colin Osborne shot just wide approaching half-time. However, it wasn’t all one way traffic as the Storm Sammons went close for the UCFL on 27 minutes, lifting his effort over the advancing keeper and just over the bar.

The introduction of Aidan Hyland at half-time to assist Storm Sammons upfront helped significantly as the latter had cut a somewhat isolated figure in the first half when operating as a lone striker.

With Carlow’s early first half dominance now broken, the UCFL began to create chances. Andy Hedderman was first to threaten, shooting just wide 5 minutes into the second half. Then, 11 minute into the half, the UCFL got the break they were seeking, when Storm Sammons turned and ran towards goal, holding off a defender before hitting fine shot into the top corner.

The UCFL were now back in the game and they had a number of chances, with Sammon shooting just over midway through the half. Carlow were now hanging on and the UCFL finally equalised on 79 minutes. Full back Gavin Murphy won a free kick after some fine work down the left and from the ensuing set-piece, the Carlow defence were unable to clear, allowing Andy Hedderman to drill home to bring the sides level.

From there, the UCFL looked poised to go on and win the game and Andy Hyland headed just over from a corner with 4 minutes left. But in their next attack just a minute later, Carlow struck for the winner, Osborne rattling the woodwork before forcing the rebound home.

So a fine comeback by the UCFL was thwarted by a strong Carlow side who now advance to the next stage of this competition after Christmas. Meanwhile, the UCFL will have to win two matches against other first round losing teams in order to join Carlow in the next round after Christmas. Their first game will be against the losing team in the tie between the AUL and Wexford.

UCFL – Brian O’Donovan (Harding IF FC), Ian Weldon (Harding IF FC), Gavin Murphy (VEC), Neal Breslin (VEC), Neil Love (South William Street Celtic), Sean Bonner (Harding IF FC), Stephen Donnelly (Aston Village), Dan Murphy (Beech Park), Storm Sammons (South William Street Celtic), Dan Kennedy (Beech Park), Andy Hedderman (Glasnaion). Subs – Eddie Murray (Rathmines Roosters) for Weldon (65 mins), Aidan Hyland (VEC) for Bonner (45 mins), Jack French (Coolock Village) for Love (87 mins), Alan McCann (Castle Celtic) for Donnelly (60 mins), Conor McGreal (Castle Celtic) for Murphy (75 mins), Fiachra Spellman (Harding IF), Brian Taaffe (Aston Village).

Carlow League – Zak Yongram, Cian Dowling, Stephan Charlton, Robert Dowling, David O’Shea, Jason Enright, Daryl Coleman, Cathal Coughlan, Graham Delaney, Adam Flynn, Craig Comerford,. Subs – Evan Lowry, Cathal Gaffney, Colin Osborne, Aaron Morris, Jamie Hennessy, Mark Davis, Phil Neenan.

04/11/2017: UCFL 2-3 Carlow & District League

The UCFL lost their opening game in this season's Oscar Traynor competition this afternoon. Trailing 0-2 at half-time, the UCFL produced a fine comeback to draw level at 2-2 with 10 minutes to go, but Carlow snatched a late winner to advance to the next round. The UCFL will now play the loser of AUL v Wexford.

A more detailed report will follow later.

03/11/2017: League Team update – UCFL v Carlow this Saturday

The UCFL representative team will play their opening match in this seaon's national inter-league competition, the Oscar Traynor Trophy, on Saturday afternoon (Nov 4). They will be at home to the Carlow & District League, with the game taking place in the VEC Sportsground in Terenure. Kick-off will be at 1.30 p.m. The winner of this game will proceed to the next round, while the losing team will get a second chance to reach the next round with a game against another opening round loser.