Derry City booked their place in the last eight of the FAI Ford Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory over UCD on Friday evening at the Belfield Bowl. David McDaid’s second half goal was enough to overcome the Students in a closely fought encounter.
By no means was it a classic cup tie but the loyal band of Candystripes travelling back up north won’t mind one bit as their side are one step closer to booking a place in November’s show piece final.
It was a game of very few clear cut opportunities as injuries continued to hamper both sides. UCD were without the very influential and in-demand midfielder Paul Corry, who looks set to complete his move across the water sooner rather than later with a number of clubs battling it out for his signature.
The opening exchanges were scrappy as neither side could take control of the game with the heavy rain before kick-off making the surface very slick. A quick bit of thinking from a Barry Molloy free kick allowed David McDaid time and space inside the UCD box but the striker couldn’t keep his effort on target from the edge of the area.
It was the visitors who looked more threatening in the opening quarter as McDaid forced McGinley into a smart low save with a powerful drive. The Students have lacked that killer edge in the final third this campaign and it was evident throughout as they failed to test Ger Doherty in the Derry goal. Robbie Benson had their first sight of the target but he couldn’t head Dave McMillan’s cross goal wards.
Stewart Greacen was next to go close as his header from Madden’s set piece was headed off the line by Barry McCabe before Stephen McLaughlin saw his stinging effort well blocked by Hugh Douglas.
With ten minutes to go until the break, College began to find their passing range and rhythm without really testing the Derry rearguard.
After the break, the visitors began to take control of the game but it was the Students who should have taken the lead just after the hour mark. Paul O’Conor broke from midfield before releasing Douglas down the right but his cross was headed inches wide by Robbie Benson.
The only goal of the game with twenty minutes remaining as Derry’s pressure finally told. Simon Madden’s corner wasn’t dealt with by McGinley before David McDaid fired home from close range after Shane McEleney’s header was blocked.
UCD pushed for an equaliser an substitute Chris Lyons went close but was denied by Ger Doherty before Stewart Greacen was shown his second yellow in the closing stages. Despite playing out the final minutes with ten men, Declan Devine’s men withheld a late Students onslaught to book their place in the quarter-finals.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Mick Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Gary Burke (James Kavanagh 78), Barry McCabe (Daniel Ledwith 78), Paul O’Conor, Tyrone McNelis (Chris Lyons 62); Robbie Benson, David McMillan.
Subs not used: Ger Barron, Stephen Doyle, Dean Clarke.
Bookings: P O’Conor (10), McCabe (13).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Barry McNamee, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Simon Madden; Owen Morrison (Ryan Curran 92’), Ryan McBride (Patrick McEleney 45’), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin; David McDaid
Subs not used: Eugene Farry, Matthew Henry, Matthew Rooney.
Bookings: Greacen (32), McLaughlin (41), McDaid (48), Doherty (88).
Sending off: Greacen (88)
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Simon Madden (Derry City)