FAI Cup R4
Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 5, 2011
Venue: The UCD Bowl
Despite the score line it was the Students who got off to a strong start as they set their stall out immediately by attacking within seconds of the start.
However, they were dealt a massive body blow on four minutes when Michael Leahy was judged to have handled Billy Dennehy’s cross in the box and referee Dave McKeon pointed straight to the penalty spot.
Dennehy stepped up to the mark but his penalty was saved by Ger Barron but the Rovers winger was the quickest to react and slotted home the rebound and give his side the lead inside five minutes.
This goal didn’t appear to hamper UCD’s spirits as Martin Russell’s side were coming off the back of two big comebacks including the initial fourth round meeting between the sides.
However, Rovers began to settle into the game with their midfield getting more time in possession as the first quarter of the game went on.
With eighteen minutes on the clock the visitors doubled their lead when Chris Turner’s header found the back of the UCD net with Rovers in the ascendancy.
The hosts were starting to struggle with the wide play of the visiting side but it was down the middle that the Hoops third goal came when Gary O’Neill found himself through on goal only for Leahy to pull him down inside the box.
A penalty was awarded and as Leahy was the last man he was shown red for the challenge giving his side an even bigger hill to climb.
Gary McCabe would take this penalty and he would make no mistake as his strike found its way into Barron’s bottom corner despite the shot stoppers best efforts.
Rovers showed no signs of letting up as they continued to push forward in waves looking to put the tie to bed.
Before the half ended last year’s cup runners up would add to their tally when Ronan Finn tried to lob Barron but the keeper made a great save only for Dennehy to pounce and put the ball into the net for his second of the game.
This left the tie at 4-0 as the two teams went in at half time. The game looked certain to go to Rovers but given UCD’s recent comeback heroics it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they could salvage the tie.
Rovers came out in the second half with a ruthless streak as the continued to drive forward in search of more goals.
However, with both managers ringing the changes the momentum began to drop. But it wasn’t for long as Rovers soon picked the pace back up.
Paddy Kavanagh and Lorcan Shannon were introduced on the right hand side of the field and added pace and enthusiasm to the side with some neat play down the wing.
And it wasn’t long before one of them had a big impact on the game when Kavanagh’s cross found Dennehy at the back post the winger bagged his hat trick and made the score 5-0.
O’Neill and Finn were at the heart of every Rovers attack and caused UCD problems throughout the game and O’Neill was rewarded for his hard work late in stoppage time when he headed home another cross from Kavanagh to round of the scoring for Rovers.
Michael O’Neill’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners and now face a repeat of last year’s final when they meet Sligo Rovers.
UCD: Ger Barron, Sean Harding (Hugh Douglas 78 min), Daniel Ledwith, David O’Connor, Michael Leahy, Paul Corry, Paul O’Conor, Robbie Creevy, Graham Rusk (Tomas Boyle 27 min), Robbie Benson, Samir Belhout (Darren Meenan 51 min)
Subs Not Used: James Kavanagh, Chris Lyons, Mark McGinley, Dean Marshall
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush, Pat Sullivan (Paddy Kavanagh 60 min) , Jack Memery, Dan Murray, Sean Gannon, Gary McCabe (Lorcan Shannon 60 min), Chris Turner, Ronan Finn, Billy Dennehy (Karl Sheppard 88 min), Ciaran Kilduff, Gary O’Neill
Subs Not Used: Craig Sives, Stephen Rice, Stephen O’Donnell, Craig Hyland
Referee: Dave McKeon
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ronan Finn