UL go down fighting against TU Dublin News: results

Posted On 15th Nov 2023
Posted By Men's Soccer
Author Mark Nolan (Fixtures Secretary)

CUFL Premier Division Quarter-final

University of Limerick 2-3 TU Dublin

The University of Limerick’s league campaign came to a disappointing but thrilling end with a 3-2 loss at home to TU Dublin this afternoon.

This match had those in attendance on the edge of their seats from the first minute to the last and indeed within the opening minute the home side found themselves a goal down.

As two UL players contested a high ball it spilled loose, a quick ball out to the left wing allowed the Dubliners to drive forward before delivering it to the area where it was quickly dispatched into the net.

Despite this very early setback UL quickly grew into the game eager to make amends for being caught by such a sucker punch. With nine minutes played Tom Kidd made strides forward before getting a shot on goal that went just over the bar.

Just two minutes later the Shannonsiders had strong appeals for a penalty turned down by the referee after it appeared Tom Kelly was fouled in the TUD area. Kelly has shown aerial prowess throughout the league campaign and with sixteen minutes on the clock he latched on to a well hit cross from Conor Carew. The Maynooth native was unlucky to see his effort deflected wide for a corner.

While the home side were enjoying the majority of the chances their opponents posed a constant threat when they broke on counter attacks seeing a header just go over the bar mid-way through the half while a goalward bound shot was blocked by one of their own players shortly after.

Spurred on by these warning shots UL took control of the game and some fine linkup play orchestrated by David McCarthy helped them get into dangerous areas.

From a throw in Alex Cuddy found himself in possession of the ball, the Athlone man showed some great footwork to evade his marker before heading for the byline. He sent a looping cross to the back post where his centre back partner Tom Kelly was waiting to head UL level with thirty two minutes played.

Soon after Kelly was called into action at the other end of the pitch producing a perfectly timed tackle to snuff out a dangerous attack. The last chance of the first half fell to Tom Kidd, Oisin Breen played a perfectly timed ball over the top that saw Kidd race through on goal. He stuck his shot well but the keeper spread himself to deny the chance

There was a real feeling of déjà vu for UL at the start of the second half as they found themselves a goal down inside the opening five minutes. Despiteng the second moiety on the front foot their momentum was brought to a shuddering halt from a long throw-in. 

The ball was sent into the area and as it bounced up it hit the hand of a UL defender, there was contact but it certainly wasn’t intentional. The referee pointed to the spot and the Dubliners made no mistake converting from twelve yards.

UL would once again have to pull themselves back into the game but in doing so they would have to gamble pushing numbers forward. Tom Kelly and Ewan O’Brien both put their bodies on the line to produce crucial tackles to insure the deficit remained at one goal.

With sixty minutes played David McCarthy delivered an inviting cross into the area but none of his teammates could capitalise on the chance created by the Clareman.

The Shannonsiders were getting joy in the wide areas and the introduction of Theo Joyce and Leon Daly was a real signal of intent as they went in search of an equaliser. In fact Joyce almost had an instant impact on proceedings.

The ever industrious Eoin Redmond darted up the right wing picking out the Connemara man with a well-timed ball, Joyce looked to guide the ball towards the bottom corner but the TU shot stopper was alive to the danger producing a fine save to keep his side in front.

Just when it looked like an equaliser was coming for UL the wind was taken out of their sails when a momentary lapse of judgement saw the turnover of possession in a dangerous area. TU Dublin advanced towards goal and made no mistake in stretching their advantage to two with sixty eight minutes on the clock.

Once again UL showed the spirit and determination that has come to define the squad in recent years as they went all out attack. They were left incredulous by the officials when what had looked to have been a certain goal was not given.

A smart ball over the top enabled Daly to exploit his pace, the Sixmilebridge man raced towards goal, jinked past the goalkeeper and sent the ball towards goal. The ball had appeared to have crossed the line before a TU Dublin boot managed to pump it clear but neither the referee not linesman was willing to award the goal much to the frustration of the home side.

Opting to use a three man defence as they sought a route back into the game UL were singing the praises of goalkeeper Josh Coady who produced a massive save to deny TUD who had broken through on goal in the seventy fifth minute.

Yet again UL saw a strong appeal for a penalty fall on deaf ears in the eighty fourth minute however with five minutes to go they would be awarded a spot kick of their own.

Joey Rushe was the man charged with the task of taking the kick, the Regional United man struck it well but it was at a good height for the keeper who had guessed correctly diving to his left.

While he was denied from 12 yards Rushe made no mistake from 30 yards as he arrowed a free kick into the bottom corner of the TU net three minutes from time to tee up a grandstand finish.  

The visitors found themselves under the cosh for the reminder of the game as UL launched an aerial bombardment of the area, Eoin Redmond tried his luck from the edge of the area while Daly perhaps had the best effort as his shot was deflected just wide of the upright.

UL would not return to the dressing room wondering ‘what if’ with Coady sent forward for a late corner, the TU keeper came out to claim the ball but in doing so let it slip from which a scramble ensued, amid the chaos UL were unable to poke the ball goalward and in the end it was booted clear in the last act of the game.

The Shannonsiders can take great pride in the performance they produced to fight their way back into the game twice against a side boasting several League of Ireland players.

While they would have loved to be looking forward to a league semi-final next week they can now focus on their exams before the regrouping in the new year as they set their sights on the pinnacle of college football – the Collingwood Cup.

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