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UCD enjoyed an emphatic 4-0 victory over Shelbourne in their first home game of the season in this SSE Airtricity League First Division clash at the UCD Bowl, with all four goals coming inside the opening 30 minutes.
A dominant display from the Students saw goals for Liam Scales, Georgie Kelly, and two from Gary O'Neill, as the home side totally steamrolled Shels and wrapped the game up early.
The emphatic result sees UCD take top spot in the standings on goal difference ahead of Athlone Town at this early stage.
A cagey opening to the first half saw no chances until the sixth minute, when Niall Lanigan dispossessed Liam Scales and drew the first save from Niall Corbet.
Just a minute later however College took the lead from seemingly nowhere, as O'Neill picked up the ball in midfield before a low strike from range caught the entire Shels' defence napping, including goalkeeper Dean Delaney who could only hopelessly flap at it.
UCD held more of the ball in midfield, O'Neill and Greg Sloggett dictating play well, which brought frustration from the away side, particularly from Alan Byrne who launched into a couple of overzealous challenges.
A great chance for Shelbourne did come in the 12th minute against the run of play when Shane English connected with a magnificent header, but it was clawed out of the top corner by Corbet.
Again soon after a Shels chance it was UCD's turn to strike more clinically, and in the 17th minute a free kick from O'Neill was nudged in at the near post by Scales to make it 2-0.
The home side firmly took control after this, Georgie Kelly almost scored directly after the second with a great header that was just wide, but in the 23rd minute Kelly would find the net with another brilliant header from a deep free kick from Jason McClelland.
Shels, in disarray, made two quick changes to try and salvage something from the game, but unfortunately instead they only managed to give away a penalty for a sliding foul from Derek Prendergast on Kelly. O'Neill duly tucked the spot-kick away to give UCD a 4-0 lead with just 29 minutes played.
The task completed, College began to take the game a little easier, not carving out another clear-cut chance for the rest of the half. Shels, on the other hand, were left shell-shocked, with a woeful long ball from Jack Tuite sent over the hill at the back of the Bowl a perfect summarising shot of their hopeless play thus far.
Booed off at half-time, things got even worse for the Drumcondra side as English was stretchered off early in the second half.
The first 15 minutes of the period saw slow, lethargic play from both sides, but Shelbourne were able to carve out their two best chances soon after. A header from Byrne was deflected over from close range before, in the 63rd minute, Adam Evans – the brightest spark for Shels on the night, his running the only thing pressurising Scales and Maxi Kouogun – broke in behind Evan Osan and brought a great save from Corbet, tipping his low shot onto the far post.
Another awkward moment ensued for Osam as he made a meal of clearing a harmless Aaron Ashe cross, Scales cleaning up before Evans could pounce, but this was the final half-chance for the away side.
An underhit pass from Lorcan Shannon towards Adam O'Connor was intercepted easily by Osam, which brought jeers and open frustration from both the travelling support and players, a release of an hour and a half of pent-up aggression as College fans revelled in victory.
The final ten minutes brought a flurry of fantastic solo efforts from UCD's Cian Kavanagh and Evans, still running to the end to his credit, but the game was decided long before.
The nature of the surrender is the biggest concern to Shels fans, with a chaotic defensive unit and a disorganised, weak performance. The Students can look forward to continuing their good early season momentum, however, into their game with title favourites Waterford next week – a win there and UCD may begin dreaming of bigger things.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Daniel Tobin, Liam Scales, Maxi Kouogun, Evan Osam (Sean Coyne 79); Simon Power (Jack Ryan 83), Greg Sloggett, Cian Kavanagh, Gary O'Neill, Jason McClelland; Georgie Kelly (Robert Manley 76).
Subs Not Used: Conor O'Donnell (gk); Josh Collins, Conor Crowley, Ben Hanrahan.
Booked: Robert Manley (87)
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Adam O'Connor, Derek Prendergast, Jack Tuite, Reece McEnteer; Lorcan Shannon, Niall Lanigan (Dayle Rooney 26), Robert Bayly (Aaron Ashe 26), Alan Byrne, Adam Evans; James English (Aidan Collins 53).
Subs Not Used: Jamie Quinn (gk), Dylan Grimes, James Brown, Jason Caffrey.
Booked: Prendergast (33), A Byrne (59), Rooney (90+1).
Sent off: Jack Tuite (59).
Referee: Damien McGraith
ExtraTime.ie Man Of The Match: Gary O'Neill (UCD).