A week ago UCD were stuck firmly to the foot of the table but two wins on the bounce for the first time this season has changed the complexion of the table quite a bit, leaving manager Martin Russell more than satisfied.
The second of those wins arrived on Friday night as the Students tore Cork City apart at Belfield with David McMillan shining in a thrilling attacking performance..
“It’s a good haul of points the last week, but it’s come after a lot of hard work and we have to continue that way now,” Russell said afterwards.
“It was an open game and there could have been more goals again. We’ve had a few of those this season but I couldn’t have asked anymore from the lads with the way they’ve tried to play and we’re just delighted to come out with another win.”
As for McMillan: “He was great. All around the park the performances supplemented that and I think the icing on the cake was the goal which he helped to set up. It was an exquisite way to finish it too.”
That goal was UCD’s third, McMillan’s outstanding lay-off to Robbie Benson leaving the latter with the task of finishing past Cork keeper Mark McNulty.
Yet their first two goals came from a complete different source – defenders getting on the end of corners. Mick Leahy netted the first with a fine header, before Hugh Douglas forced Cork’s Andy O’Connell into an own goal shortly after the half-hour mark.
Russell, quite obviously, was pleased with the quality of the set-plays: “Our deliveries were dangerous and it was pleasing to see but you have to say our general play was good too.
“We’ve been playing some good football all season so to get nice goals like that is something to enjoy.”
However, it will be some achievement for them to string a third win on the trot together as they travel to face champions elect Sligo Rovers on Monday night at the Showgrounds.
Certainly the odds aren’t in their favour but as the manager points out, clichéd as it might sound, no game is easy.
“It’s never going to be easy with any team you’re playing but when you’re playing a team that’s trying to go for the league it’s harder again. Regardless of who you play though, you’re always going to have to work hard to get the points.”
Alan Smith has been writing for ExtraTime since 2008. He works as a full-time journalist based in Cork, working as a sub-editor for TCM and freelancing for a range of national titles. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.