Date: 7:45 p.m. Feb. 14, 2011
Venue: The UCD Bowl
Any fears UCD might have had of being caught in pre-season mode by a Lisburn team who have been playing league football since the Autumn were quickly dispelled as Martin Russell's side quickly took control of this game.
Lisburn hustled and bustled across a cold and echoey Dalymount Park but, while neither side were creating any clear chances, it was the Students who put together the more progressive passages of play.
Built on the solid presence of Yael Haro and Mick Leahy at the back, UCD’s midfield attempted to pass their way through a congested midfield and, with Ciaran Nangle and Sean Harding always willing to push forward down the wings, what pressure there was fell on Lisburn’s shoulders.
UCD’s first genuine chance came in the 20th minute when a Darren Meenan free from wide on the left was headed firmly towards the top corner by Graham Rusk. Billy Brennan in the Lisburn goal did well to deny his former team mate with a finger-tip save.
Lisburn were restricted to long range and largely harmless efforts from Mark Patton and Scott Davidson, while star striker, 41 year old legend Glenn Ferguson, never got the kind of service necessary for him to engage the instincts that have earned him 561 career goals.
It was in the latter stages of the first half that UCD really started to push on. In the 40th minute, Robbie Creevy played a smart one-two with Rusk that gave him space to shoot from 15 yards, but Brennan saved his weak effort with relative comfort.
Moments later Paul Corry played a superb ball through to Meenan on the left and his crisp inside pass found Rusk who dithered too long on the ball and was closed down. Then, one minute before half time, Creevy floated a ball across the Lisburn box for Meenan who had the space to chest it down and shoot from eight yards. It was only a saving block from Aaron Callaghan that kept the sides scoreless at the break.
The second half started at a belting pace as Lisburn began to show what they were capable of. Gary Thompson battled his way through Yael Haro and Ciaran Nangle as he ran at UCD from the half way line, only being smothered at the by-line.
Four minutes later UCD broke from a Lisburn corner and Dean Marshall 'saw' Thompson’s run and doubled it, sprinting the length of the field before wasting his final ball. One minute after that and Thompson was through again, this time meeting Ger Barron who had come well outside his box. He skipped past the UCD ‘keeper but was chased down before he could shoot at the empty goal.
Glenn Ferguson was next up, powering a header on target from a Mark Patton cross but Barron saved well. Two minutes later Patton provided another cross for the Lisburn number nine, whose flicked header was again saved by Barron.
But perhaps the best chance of the game fell to Rusk a minute later. Darren Meenan put him through on goal and his chipped effort clipped off Brennan and bounced twice on the top of the bar before dropping over.
With twenty minutes remaining UCD shifted to 4-4-2 and Paul Corry tested Brennan with a crisp shot in the 78th minutes. Darren Meenan also skimmed a low shot narrowly wide but the game receded into the midfield area as the final minutes rolled by.
UCD will not be unhappy with this result, despite being held scoreless by their visitors. Both sides could have taken it and there was enough good football on show to suggest that 2011 will not be the long march to relegation that many bookies are suggesting for Martin Russell’s young side.
UCD: Ger Barron; Sean Harding (Daniel Ledwith, 71), Mick Leahy, Yael Haro, Ciaran Nangle; Dean Marshall (Stephen Doyle, 80), Robbie Creevy, Paul O'Conor, Paul Corry, Darren Meenan; Graham Rusk.
Subs not used: Mark McGinley, David O'Connor, Danny Fallon, Samir Belhuit, Cillian Morrison.
Bookings: Harding (38).
Lisburn Distillery: Billy Brennan; Aaron Callaghan, Andy Hunter, Phil Simpson, Andy Devlin; Scott Davidson (Jordan Forsythe, 84), Gary Thompson, Andy Kilmartin, Mark Patton (David Cushley, 80); Glenn Ferguson (Gary Browne, 84).
Subs not used: Phil Mathews, Pat McShane, Stuart Thompson, Eoin Boyle.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Billy Brennan.
Attendance: 150 (estimate).