League Team 2018/19

Back row: Brian O'Regan, Sam Jackson, Austin Hannon, Mick Kinsella, Conor McGreal, Aidan Hyland. Front row: Ray Jaudzens, Conor Blaine, Peter O'Brien, Dani Gonzalez, Gavin Murphy

20/12/2018: Defence Forces 2-1 UCFL; Oscar Traynor campaign ends with defeat to group winners

The UCFL concluded their 2018-19 Oscar Traynor campaign with a 1-2 defeat to the Defence Forces on Wednesday (19/12/2018) night.

Despite the defeat, the UCFL team produced a fine performance against the best team in a difficult group on the Crumlin Utd astroturf, competing well throughout the game, with a number of players particularly prominent. Mick Kinsella, who missed the Carlow game through suspension and Dani Gonzalez were both outstanding in midfield, while Aidan Hyland’s return made a big difference upfront.

Despite a bright and fast-paced start, there were few chances in the opening 20 minutes, with attacking moves breaking down for both sides. However, that changed when the Defence Forces’ Jody Dillon slipped his marker on 18 minutes before attempting to round Austin Hannon, but the UCFL goalkeeper got down quickly to thwart the danger.

The UCFL responded with a couple of efforts themselves, first Aidan Hyland’s header was palmed away by Gavin Mulreaney and then, after a fine run down the left by Ray Jaudzems, it was Hyland again, shooting just wide at the far post though he was ruled offside.

Approaching the half-hour mark, the Defence Forces appeared to be taking control, going close three times in quick succession, first Derek Connolly shooting just wide, Raymond McCann doing likewise after a mistake in the UCFL defence and then a header rebounding from the crossbar before the ball was scrambled away by the UCFL defence.

However, the UCFL weathered that storm and responded with a few chances of their own, with Ray Jaudzems working an opening for a shot which was saved by Mulreaney, before the latter was forced to tip over a drive from Conor Blaine just a minute later.

With the clock reaching the 45 minute mark, the deadlock seemed set to be broken when Defence Forces midfielder Rickie Fox was tripped inside the box. However, Fox’s penalty was not particularly well struck and Hannon got down to his right and saved. And there was still time for the UCFL to threaten at the other end, Sam Jackson heading over a cross from Hyland.

After an encouraging first half, the UCFL began the second half in confident manner, pushing for a breakthrough and coming close on 50 minutes, a scrambled clearance falling at the feet of Dani Gonzalez, whose shot from the edge of the area was tipped round the base of the post by Mulreaney at full stretch.

However, it was the Defence Forces who made the breakthrough with 54 minutes gone. A throw-in from the left was nodded on by Dillon, Hannon was unable to hold onto it and Tony Smith was on hand to turn the ball in from two yards.

The UCFL quickly recovered and they drew level with a deserved equaliser on 66 minutes. There seemed little danger when a free kick was awarded 40 yards out and near the sideline, but Gonzalez’ fine free kick allowed Hyland to steal in behind the defence and guide a header low into the keeper’s bottom right-hand corner. This boosted the UCFL, and for the next few minutes, they began to press with increasing belief that they could grab an unexpected winner.

However, they were undone on 74 minutes by a poor clearance which allowed the Defence Forces a chance to attack and though Hannon did well to stop the initial shot, he had no chance with the follow-up from Dillon who pounced to restore the Defence Forces’ lead.

The UCFL wobbled again after this setback, Paul Sheehan sending a header glancing off Hannon’s crossbar just 3 minutes later, but the UCFL again recovered gradually and pressed for a second equaliser right to the end. They had a great chance 3 minutes into injury time but Sam Jackson’s shot was deflected just past the post and with that, the UCFL’s last chance had gone.

And so another Oscar Traynor campaign for the UCFL team ends without a win, but there is no doubt that the performances represented an improvement after a difficult couple of seasons which followed the loss of three of the four leading teams from the Premier Division in 2016. Apart from a slightly crazy 20-minute spell in the first half of this year’s opening game when 3 goals were conceded, the UCFL competed well in all 3 games against difficult opponents, the Leinster Senior League, last year’s winners Carlow and the Defence Forces, the latter themselves beating all 3 teams and topping the group. The UCFL team improved with each game and last night’s contest saw a fine game played at a notably high pace and standard throughout. The UCFL would like to thank the management team of Paul Hutchinson and David Spring, along with all the players and their clubs, for their efforts on behalf of the League and we trust that it has been a worthwhile experience for all involved.

UCFL: Austin Hannon (Clontarf Ath), Conor McGreal (Castle Celtic), Gavin Murphy (VEC FC), Peter O’Brien (VEC FC), Brian O’Regan (C) (Harding IF), Mick Kinsella (VEC FC), Ray Jaudzems (VEC FC), Dani Gonzalez (VEC FC), Sam Jackson (VEC FC), Aidan Hyland (VEC FC), Conor Blaine (Coolock Village). Subs – Pat Meghen (VEC FC) for Blaine (59 mins), Neal Breslin (VEC FC) for O’Brien (65 mins), Andy Hedderman (Glasnaion) for McGreal (75 mins), Eoin Sherlock (Swords Manor), Richie Hanniffy (VEC FC).

Defence Forces: Gavin Mulreaney, Ben O’Donoghue, Craig Doran, Sean Guerins, Richie Barber, Rickie Fox, Derek Connolly, Raymond McCann, Jody Dillon, Paul Sheehan, Tony Smith. Subs – Stephen Fisher, Michael Mulhall, John Paul Brennan, Frank Carolan, Stephen Whelan

19/12/2018: Defence Forces 2-1 UCFL

The UCFL put on a fine performance tonight before going down 1-2 to the Defence Forces, who had already beaten the other two teams in the group, Carlow and the LSL.

More details will follow later...

17/12/2018: UCFL take on Defence Forces in final Oscar Traynor game

The UCFL representative team will play their final match in this season’s Oscar Traynor competition at 8.00pm on Wednesday night (Dec19), when they take on the Defence Forces on Crumlin Utd.’s artificial surface. Having lost their opening two matches, the UCFL cannot now qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, whereas the Defence Forces will be seeking to confirm their status as the best team in the group after beating both Carlow and then the LSL in their two matches to date.

This game undoubtedly represents a tough challenge for the UCFL team, but Paul Hutchinson and the squad will be looking to continue the improvement shown since the disappointing first half of the opening game against the LSL and finish the campaign with a strong performance.

25/11/2018: Carlow 2-1 UCFL

The UCFL representative team lost out narrowly to 2017-18 winners, the Carlow & District League in their second game in the Oscar Traynor competition on Saturday (24/11/2018).

In the end, Carlow were deserving winners as they enjoyed slightly more possession in their opponents’ half and created more chances overall, but the UCFL displayed excellent organisation throughout, threatening frequently and remained well in the game right to the end.

The opening 20 minutes were evenly contested, with Ayuba Salaudeen in particular enjoying some moments of prominence on his first start for the UCFL team. The first chance of note fell to Carlow on 10 minutes when Mark Davis cut in from the right and shot over from 25 yards, but the UCFL had a better opportunity after 17 minutes when Conor Blaine played a brilliant ball over the Carlow defence only for Sam Jackson to fire hastily over.

However, Carlow took the lead on 22 minutes with an outstanding effort, although there was a touch of good fortune about it, a free kick move being initially blocked by a UCFL defender, only for Craig Comerfors to swing his left boot at the dropping ball and connect perfectly to send an unstoppable effort into the far corner of the net to put his side 1-0 up.

There followed an uncomfortable period for the UCFL as they sought to maintain their foothold in the game but they managed to limit Carlow to just one chance, with Phil Neenan shooting over after 32 minutes. Indeed, the UCFL also threatened on occasion themselves, Salaudeen’s rushed shot from the edge of the box bringing a save from Jamie Hennessy in the Carlow goal.

If Carlow enjoyed some luck for their opening goal, the UCFL benefitted from a large slice of it for their equaliser 5 minutes before half-time when the referee inadvertently blocked a Carlow clearance, allowing the UCFL to regain possession before working the ball to Salaudeen whose scuffed shot from the edge of the area rolled into the path of Sam Jackson and he made no mistake from 10 yards to level the scores.

Carlow produced a quick response and David Frewen did well to tip over Stevie Chalton’s shot a couple of minutes later and the sides reached half-tie tied at 1-1.

Carlow were first to threaten again after the break, Ethan O’Neill firing a free kick narrowly wide, though it appeared that Frewen had it covered. But the UCFL quickly showed that they would remain competitive as Dave Marmion drove forward before dinking a perfect ball into the area where Jackson just failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.

Jackson had another chance after 55 minutes, racing onto a through ball, but his first touch let him down allowing Hennessy to force him wide and the chance was lost.

However, Carlow then enjoyed a good period, with a couple of scrambles in the UCFL penalty box, the first ending with a header just past the post and the second requiring a goal line clearance. Carlow maintained the pressure and though Jackson again forced a save from the Carlow keeper midway through the half, it took the crossbar to save the UCFL on 72 minutes after a fine run and shot by Danny Doyle.

But there was to be no reprieve just a minute later as Carlow attacked down the right and the low centre evaded Frewen before being turned in from a couple of yards, despite a hint of offside.

Carlow rarely threatened in the final 15 minutes as the UCFL sought a second equaliser. The closest they came was a run from substitute Dermot Blaine who worked his way to the byeline with 7 minutes left before cutting the ball back but there was no-one in 6yard box to apply the finish.

With the Defence Forces beating the LSL, the UCFL are now out of contention for the knockout stages of this season’s competition. However, they will take significant encouragement from their performance in Saturday’s game having pushed last season’s winners all the way. The UCFL will complete their programme with a third game against the already qualified Defence Forces at a date and venue which will be confirmed shortly.

UCFL – David Frewen (VEC FC), Dave Darmion (Harding IF FC), Gavin Murphy (VEC FC), Peter O’Brien (VEC FC), Brian O’Regan (C) (Harding IF FC), Bobby Haughton (Harding IF FC), Ray Jaudzems (VEC FC), Ayuba Salaudeen (Castle Celtic), Andy Hedderman (Glasnaion FC), Sam Jackson (VEC FC), Conor Blaine (Coolock Village FC). Subs – Conor McGreal (Castle Celtic) for Blaine, Dermot Blaine (Coolock Village) for Haughton, Neil Love (South William Street Celtic) for Salaudeen; not used – Richie Hanniffy (VEC FC).

Carlow – 1. Jamie Hennessy, 2. Michael Calvey, 3. Stevie Chalto, 4. Robert Dowling, 5. Mark Boland, 6. Phil Neenan, 7. Mark Davis, 8. Cathal Coughlan, 9. Danny Doyle, 10. Ethan O’Neill, 11. Craig Comerford (C). Subs – 12. Micahel Mullen, 13, Brian Mullen, 14. Aaron Morris, 15. Chris Gaule, 16. Roy Byrne, 18. Craig Walker.

24/11/2018: Carlow 2-1 UCFL

The UCFL lost their second match in this season's Oscar Traynor competition, going down 1-2 to Carlow in Tullow earlier today.

More details on the game will follow later.

23/11/2018: UCFL to play Carlow on Saturday in second Oscar Traynor game

After their defeat against the LSL, the UCFL representative team will play the second of their three matches in this season’s Oscar Traynor competition on Saturday (24/11/2018) when they travel to Tullow to take on the Carlow & District League. This is a repeat of last season’s opening match when a late goal secured a 3-2 victory for Carlow after the UCFL had fought back from a 0-2 deficit.

Carlow went on to win the 2017/18 competition, but like the UCFL, they will be fighting to keep their hopes of progressing to this season's knockout stages alive tomorrow after a disappointing defeat in their opening match against the Defence Forces.

Tomorrow’s match will kick-off at 2pm on Tullow Town’s home pitch.

03/11/2018: UCFL 0-3 Leinster Senior League; news from Oscar Traynor opener

The UCFL representative team went down to a disappointing 0-3 defeat to the Leinster Senior League in their opening game in the Oscar Traynor competition on Saturday (04/11/2018).

All the goals came in the first half, despite the fact that the UCFL seemed to be competing on fairly even terms for much of that period. The LSL’s more clinical finishing was the difference between the teams, converting 3 of their 5 chances in that opening half, whereas the UCFL failed to make the most of their own admittedly more sporadic chances, though they were undoubtedly unlucky not to score on two occasions.

The first incident of note occurred after 5 minutes when UCFL keeper David Frewen did well to stop a snap shot. However, he was beaten on 10 minutes when the LSL’s Sean O’Connor arced a brilliant free kick from 25 yards into the top corner.

The game continued with the UCFL competing strongly and centre forwards Aidan Hyland and Gianmarco Fratangeli combined well on a number of occasions. Indeed, on 22 minutes, Hyland ran on and shot wide from 25 yards before he almost equalised a minute later, rising at the far post to meet a free kick, but his header back across goal just cleared the crossbar.

Almost immediately, the UCFL were rocked backwards by a second LSL goal, Ian Tuohy converting after an initial blocked shot landed at his feet 10 yards out, leaving the LSL with a decidedly flattering 2-0 lead.

With their tails now very definitely up, the LSL wasted no time in pressing home their advantage and Jordan Payne, a constant threat, latched on to a fine diagonal ball over the defence and clipped it over the advancing Frewen.

The UCFL managed to regain their composure after these setbacks and restricted the LSL to one more long range effort before half-time which was easily dealt with by Frewen. In fact, it was the UCFL who came much closer to scoring when Gianmarco Fratangeli controlled a cross and then saw his shot cleared off the line by an LSL defender with the keeper beaten.

There were no further goals in the second half, with the LSL largely resorting to long range efforts as the UCFL defence managed to keep its shape and hold the LSL forwards at bay. There were one or two fleeting chances at the other too which could have brought the UCFL back into contention, Aidan Hyland chasing a through ball on 65 minutes only for the LSL keeper to effect a fine block at the edge of his area.

But any chance of a comeback by the UCFL was effectively ended 3 minutes later when Mick Kinsella was red-carded after a dangerous tackle. At that stage, a rout became a real possibility, but the UCFL team dug in and battled through the remaining 22 minutes without conceding a goal. The closest the LSL came was a shot which drew a fine save from Frewen with 12 minutes left.

The UCFL will now move on to the next game against Carlow, to be followed by the third and final group game against the Defence Forces. Both matches will be away.

UCFL – David Frewen (VEC FC), Dermot Blaine (Coolock Villag), Gavin Murphy (VEC FC), Brian O’Regan (C) (Harding IF FC), Neil Love (South William Street Celtic), Shane Lyons (Harding IF FC), Mick Kinsella (VEC FC), Gianmarco Fratangeli (Harding IF FC), Aidan Hyland (VEC C), Ray Jaudzems (VEC FC). Subs – Ayuba Salaudeen (Castle Celtic) for Blaine, Dave Marmion (Harding IF FC) for S. Murphy, Jamie Walsh (Tallaght Utd) for Fratangeli, Andy Hedderman (Glasnaion FC) for Love, Pat Meghen (VEC FC) for Jaudzems; not used - Peter O’Brien (VEC FC), Willie Wylie (Coolock Village).

Leinster Senior League – Gary Cleary (Booth Road), Calvin Roger (Crumlin Utd.), Gary Murphy (Crumlin Utd.), Patrick Shorthall (Cherry Orchard), Kyle Dunphy (Crumlin Utd.), Sean O’Connor (Crumlin Utd.), Jordan Payne (Booth Road), Conor Mooney (Crumlin Utd.), Leon Foley (Crumlin Utd.), Ian Tuohy (Crumlin Utd.), Sam Burghes (Crumlin Utd.). Subs – Dean Longhi (Crumlin Utd.), Ian Cowzer (Crumlin Utd.), Philip Sheppard (Booth Road), Andy McNulty

03/11/2018: UCFL 0-3 LSL

The UCFL representative team went down to a 0-3 defeat to the Leinster Senior League in their opening game this afternoon.

More details on the game will follow later...

30/10/2018: League Team update – UCFL v LSL this Saturday

The UCFL representative team will play their opening match in this season’s national inter-league competition, the Oscar Traynor Trophy, on Saturday afternoon (Nov 3), at home to the Leinster Senior League. The game will take place in the Oscar Traynor Centre on the Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock, Dublin 17, with a 2pm kick-off.

Along with the UCFL and LSL, there are two other teams in the group – the Carlow League (who won this competition last season) and the Defence Forces. Each team will play the other 3 teams one, with the top two teams going through to the next stage. After Saturday, both of the UCFL’s remaining games against Carlow and the Defence Forces, will be away from home.

Paul Hutchinson will again manage the team, repeating his role of last season. Paul has been associated with the team in various management roles in different periods over the last decade or more. The UCFL would like to thank Paul, his management group, the participating players and their clubs for their cooperation and efforts to prepare for the competition and we wish them the best of luck on Saturday