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By Stephen Walsh at St Colman's Park
Darren Murphy’s first league goal of the season was enough to give Cobh Ramblers the three points in Saturday’s SSE Airtricity League First Division match in St. Colman’s Park against UCD. The win moves them up to second place moving above the Students.
The first half had little of note but the second half was much better and it was topped off by a superb goal by Murphy.
Cobh Ramblers had a much depleted side on show with Matthew Whelan away on holidays while injuries were also taking their toll with Dean Swords pulling up in the warm up. Peter Callanan made his debut for the senior side having impressed in the recent friendly against Norwich City.
UCD who defeated Charlton Athletic during the week played a very strong side as they hoped to close the gap on league leaders Waterford.
Ramblers had Cian Coleman playing up front and it was his partner Ian Mylod who had the first two chances; firstly he sliced a shot following an error from Niall Corbet and then straight after saw his shot saved by Corbet.
UCD looked the more threatening of the two sides during the opening half with Georgie Kelly heading wide on 15 minutes following a dangerous cross from Evan Osam.
James McSweeney, who has impressed for Cobh throughout his maiden season playing League of Ireland football, fired a header narrowly wide on 18 minutes following a Craig Donnellan free kick.
Jason McClelland had a late chance in the half owing to defensive hesitancy but overall both teams headed to the tunnel knowing that they needed a much improved showing to get the three points.
Cobh had the better start to the second half with Mylod having a number of probing runs as both Donnellan and Murphy winning a lot of ball in the middle of the pitch. Mylod came close on 55 minutes but could only find the side netting.
Ben Hanrahan had a shot go wide on the hour mark for the Students but the visitors knew they would have to up the game if they were to get a first win of the season over Cobh Ramblers having lost the previous two encounters.
Ramblers were pressing and took the lead on 71 minutes when Murphy took possession on the edge of the box before firing powerfully with his left leg into the net.
UCD substitute Simon Power saw his shot saved by Paul Hunt, but it was still Cobh in the ascendancy.
Cobh pressed but UCD still looked dangerous on the break however it was only late in injury time that they would go close with Maxim Kovogun firing wide from inside the box.
Next up for Cobh is an away trip on Friday against Waterford where they will hope to close the six point gap at the top of the table.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Chris McCarthy; Anthony O’Donnell (Scott McCarthy 79); Darren Murphy, Craig Donnellan, Peter Callanan (Cian Kingston 69), Kyle McNamara (Shane Lowth 85); Ian Mylod, Cian Coleman.
Subs not used: Michael Sadys, Karl Caulfield.
Booked: Darren Murphy (67), Craig Donnellan (83).
UCD: Niall Corbet; Daniel Tobin, Maxim Kovogun, Liam Scales, Evan Osam; Ben Hanrahan (Robert Manley 89), Greg Sloggett, Timmy Molloy, Jason McClelland; Cian Kavanagh (Simon Power 74), Georgie Kelly.
Subs not used: Josh Collins, Sean Coyne, Conor Crowley, Sean Byrne.
Referee: John McLoughlin
Attendance: 400 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Craig Donnellan (Cobh Ramblers)