Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 2, 2009
Venue: Tolka Park
After just five minutes, UCD were denied a goal as Ronan Finn was deemed to be offside. Just three minutes later, Shels were the scorers as David McAllister scored a somewhat fortuitous goal after fit-again David Cassidy swung in a dangerous corner kick.
Immediately afterwards, UCD were on the counter-attack. The Shels midfield chased everything down, resulting in UCD doing little with the possession they had in the early part of the match. Mark O’Brien was excellent in winning the ball for Shels, while David Cassidy and David McAllister were both at their creative best for the Reds.
In the 17th minute, UCD won their first corner. The Shelbourne defence failed to clear the ball, and Brian Shortall was able to apply the finish, equalising for the Students.
As was the nature of the match, Shelbourne surged up the pitch in search of another goal to restore their lead. Although Mark O’Brien and David McGill were working hard in midfield, Shels were nearly caught napping in the 24th minute when a UCD counter-attack released the ever-dangerous Ciaran Kilduff on goal, but Alan Keely was able to end his run.
Kilduff was central for UCD all night, holding the ball up well in the Shelbourne half as well as posing a genuine threat to the Shels defence. Both sides seemed to lack the ‘killer touch’ needed to grab another goal, until McAllister popped up again in the 35th minute to score his 15th goal in all competitions this season. A goalmouth scramble ensued after another Cassidy corner, and McAllister was at hand to smash the ball past UCD ‘keeper Gerard Barron.
UCD came straight back at Shelbourne, winning two consecutive corners, but the home side were able to resist. Shelbourne’s McAllister and UCD’s Peter McMahon both had chances to score and just before half time Peter Hynes missed a great chance to send Shels 3-1 up as he headed straight at the goalkeeper from a looping Anto Flood cross.
Flood was to start the second half as he had ended the first and the striker saw his shot just parried wide after some great trickery in the 48th minute. The scorer of the two Shelbourne goals, David McAllister, played more defensively than he had played in the first half. This led to him dominating possession and distributing the ball expertly to his teammates, but goals were not forthcoming.
Changes were made by UCD in the 61st minute as Chris Mulhall was brought on for Evan McMillan and Rob Creevy was brought in for Paul Corry. High drama was to unfold two minutes later, as UCD’s goalscorer Brian Shortall was sent off for shoving Cassidy. A minor fracas ensued, but no further cards were doled out. David McGill, carrying a knock, was taken off for Shels, being replaced by Colin O’Brien and Alan Keely was taken off for Kevin Doherty.
Hynes then missed a golden chance for Shelbourne in the 72nd minute, shooting straight at the ‘keeper after Colin O’Brien and Flood did well to make the chance for the ex-Sporting Fingal striker.
Shelbourne will rue not taking one of those golden chances, as David McMillan controversially equalised for 10-man UCD in the 75th minute. Flood was dispossessed in the UCD half, in what could easily have been given as a foul. The referee let play go on, however, and McMillan outwitted Dean Delaney to make it 2-2.
The pace of the game now went from fast to frantic as Shelbourne desperately searched for a winner. UCD were able to soak up the Shelbourne pressure and then launch attacks of their own. The excellent Michael Synott saved an almost certain UCD goal in the 80th minute with a last-gasp sliding tackle on Kilduff.
Chances were now few and far between for both sides, with Flood shooting well over in the 83rd minute. A talking point came in the 87th minute when Damien Brennan attempted to take a Shels free kick near his own penalty area. Kilduff was deemed to have deliberately obstructed the free kick, and was yellow carded.
Three minutes were added on at the end, but they didn’t matter as both sides (each with their fair share of luck) were a match for each other. Shelbourne may well feel aggrieved that they couldn’t finish their rivals off, but UCD were probably lucky to have come away with a draw here.
Shelbourne: Delaney; Synott, Hedderman, Keely (Doherty ’65), Brennan; M. O’Brien, McGill (C. O’Brien ’65), Cassidy (Griffiths ’80); Hynes, Flood, McAllister.
Subs not used: Whelan, Crawley.
UCD: Barron; Harding, Shortall, Boyle, E. McMillan (Mulhall ’61); Corry (Creevy ’61), Reilly, Finn; Kilduff, McMahon, D. McMillan.
Subs not used: Leahy, Bolger, Brennan.
Referee: Padraig Sutton
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: There were a few stand-out performances on both sides, but this must go to David McAllister. Two goals, a tireless workrate and boundless creativity mean “McAllstar” gets our Man of the Match.