UCC 3 (Collins 60, Walker 66, Falvey 88) Avondale Utd 0
UCC issued a real statement of intent last night of their league title credentials with a convincing victory over Avondale at the Mardyke.
The scoreline was somewhat harsh on the visitors as for long spells they matched the students but very few could argue that UCC did not deserve their victory.
The first real opportunity of note came on 12 minutes and Ronan Hennessey and Matthew McKevitt were left scratching their heads after Avondale goalkeeper, Sean Barron produced a magnificent double save to deny both players, the second save from McKevitt was exceptional as Barron lay on the ground and saved with an outstretched leg.
The quality of play from both sides at times was very impressive with some good build up play and passing with the ball being moved along the ground at pace.
UCC had to make an early substitution with Owen Collins replacing John Buttimer who had earlier been on the end of a crunching challenge.
On 26 minutes, Brian Murphy and Cathal O’Neill were on the end of a great Avondale move with Murphy rounding David Coffey in the UCC goal but he took the ball wide of goal and the students managed to get enough players back to clear the danger.
McKevitt had another opportunity on 40 minutes after a good through ball by Simon Falvey but the wide player had his shot from a narrow angle saved.
And Falvey was next to test Barron when his powerful shot from 25 yards was again saved by Barron just before half-time as UCC began to up the ante.
Just before the break, another good Avondale passage of play resulted in David Shovlin firing over as the referee blew for half-time.
After a quiet opening to the second half, Avondale made a double substitution with Mark O’Sullivan and Vinnie O’Brien coming on but it was the students who struck first and it was their substitute that opening the scoring.
UCC moved the ball across the pitch where Owen Collins was in acres of space on the left and the ball sat up perfectly for him to smash the ball home with his left foot and arguably give the students a deserved lead on the hour mark.
Avondale responded well and a mazy run by the energetic, Danny O’Connell who was now operating in a more advanced position led to him going past three players before being upended in the penalty area but referee, Anthony Buttimer was having none of it and waved play on.
O’Connell picked himself up though and went close again on 66 minutes but his shot from close range was saved well by Coffey.
The student’s goalkeeper released the ball quickly and UCC moved the ball down the pitch resulting in Gordan Walker firing the ball past Barron to give UCC a two goal cushion.
That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Avondale and but for a Mark O’Sullivan header that was saved and a few half chances, it was the students that finished the stronger.
Falvey should have made it three on 72 minutes but somehow missed the target from close range, Ronan Hennessey had a shot saved from a narrow angle on 76 minutes and a free kick from Hennessy came back off the post but the pressure paid off in the 88th minute when Falvey finally got on the scoresheet firing into the roof of the net to put the icing on an emphatic UCC victory.
UCC: David Coffey, Darren Mannix, Ben McAuliffe, Ethan Hurley, Rob Slevin, Gordan Walker, Ronan Hennessy, John Buttimer (Owen Collins 17 mins), Simon Falvey, Gavan Manley, Matthew McKevitt.
Avondale Utd: Sean Barron, Danny O’Connell, Eoghan Lougheed, David Kiely, Mark Horgan, Ryan Hogan, Karl Caulfield, Brian Murphy (Mark O’Sullivan 57 mins), Cathal O’Neill (Vinnie O’Brien 57 mins), David Shovlin.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Shots on target: 9-3
Shots off target 4-2
Yellow Cards 1-0