EA Sports Cup
Date: 7:45 p.m. May 10, 2010
Venue: The UCD Bowl
Ref: Richie Winter
Goal - Gary Twigg 10'
Rovers started the match brighter. Early possession and quick passing allowed them to find gaps in the Students defence and they had early success down the left wing. A horrible mix up at the back between Michael Kelly and Brian Shortall for UCD left Sean O'Connor with the ball. His cross was met by Twigg and the Scot's header crashed into the net giving The Hoops a much deserved lead.
The home side's response was lethargic, possibly more focused on the league meeting between these two sides on Friday. It was surprising though from a team on a run of eight games without conceding- perhaps they had forgotten what it felt like to go behind in a game.
Meanwhile, Rovers were pouring down the left side of the pitch, O'Connor squared to Stephen Rice whose shot from 25 yards went high and wide. O'Connor got past Kelly again but his cross was blocked this time by Shortall. The resulting corner dropped right onto the six yard line, but no hooped jersey was able to meet it.
Another O'Connor break down the left was cut out for another corner but easily cleared this time. This repetitiveness was only stopped in the 40th minute when Keith Ward rushed forward for the Students to put a right footed cross in which was flicked on by Sean Houston to the far post for Stephen Doyle, but he could not control the ball and it rolled harmlessly into 'keeper Alan Mannus' hands.
It was business as usual though straight after, Robert Bayly's shot from 20 yards fizzed over the crossbar.
As the second half resumed, it appeared the Hoops were content with their one goal advantage, less inclined to move up the pitch, however this is always a dangerous game to play and nearly paid for it. Graham Rusk picked the ball up outside the Hoops box and his low, curling shot forced a smart save from Mannus to push the ball around the post.
The match then returned to its usual plot. Dessie Baker surged forward from his own half and found O'Connor whose cross went behind for a corner. The corner was met at the near post by Craig Sives, but his header flashed wide.
Although Rovers were in firm command, their inability to score a second was becoming worrisome for their travelling fans. And when Shane Fitzgerald got to the ball at the by line for The Students and crossed to the far post, it looked like UCD might conjure an equaliser. Alas, substitute Mark Langtry's diving header did not have enough of an angle to creep in and it crashed off the outside of the woodwork.
That scare forced Rovers into action. Paddy Kavanagh taking up the charge first, sliding a neat, low cross from the right which Thomas Stewart was unable to connect with and then firing from the 18 yard line himself, forcing a good block from Shortall.
A final scare for The Hoops came in injury time when a long free kick from UCD was flicked on by Fitzgerald and a scramble ensued at the goal mouth, eventually cleared by Sives.
And that was it- Rovers progress whilst UCD will have to work a lot harder if they are to get a better result this Friday.
UCD: Brennan, Kelly, Nangle, Leahy, Shorthall, Fallon, Doyle (Fitzgerald '45), Roche, Houston (Kilduff '45), Rusk, Ward (Langtry '77).
Subs not used: McCabe, Barron.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, Flynn, Sives, Murray, Murphy, Kavanagh, Rice, Bayly (Baker '67), Chambers (Bradley '60), O'Connor, Twigg (Stewart '67).
Subs not used: Duggan, Dennehy.
Referee: Richie Winter