By John Hudson
A magnificent injury time strike from Daire O’Connor gave a ten man UCD a hard fought victory over home side Queens University in the Rustlers sponsored Irish Universities Collingwood Cup in Belfast.
Time was running out with the sides level on one a piece when Timmy Molloy’s accurate pass picked out the lively O’Connor and he took a touch to power an unstoppable drive well out of the reach of Queens ‘keeper Conor Lally.
It was no more that the Belfield side deserved after playing the whole of the second without striker Georgie Kelly and skipper Gary O’Neill.
Kelly was dismissed by referee Ryan Hanna in the closing minutes of the first half for a foul on Eamon Fyfe.
While O’Neill failed to appear for the second half after picking up a nasty knee injury earlier in the half following a heavy challenge from centre back Callum Byers that the official deemed warranted only a yellow card offence.
Molloy had put UCD in a great position midway into the opening half when he converted a flowing move involving Greg Sloggett, O’Connor and himself with a brilliant finish to put last season’s defeated finalists in front.
UCD looked likely to hold on to that lead coming up to the break until Ronan Young drew Queens level with a precisely placed left footed free kick on the edge of the box.
The equaliser, O’Neill injury and the dismissal of Kelly minutes later left UCD manager Diarmuid McNally with some problems to ponder on at the break.
Gareth Coughlan replaced O’Neill and UCD set about the task of regaining a cup they have now won on 47 occasions.
Even with the extra man advantage Queens didn’t really pose a great threat and Young’s shot from distance that Gavin Sheridan comfortably held and another top save by the UCD ‘keeper from Jarleth o’Rourke was all they had to offer.
UCD dominated possession and O’Connor shave the post with a fine effort, Molloy forced Lally to tip over his great strike while later O’Connor might have won the game when he got clear on goal but shot well over.
However shortly after the winger made amends with his brilliant effort to send the cup back to Belfield.
G Sheridan; D Tobin, L Scales, M Kouogun, D McConville (S Coyne 83); G O’Neill (G Coughlan h-t), G Sloggett; D O’Connor, T Molloy, J McClelland (S Byrne 89); G Kelly.
C Lally; C Smith, C Kerr (J Curry 78), R Larkin, C Byers; S O’Reilly, K Niblock; R Young, D Rooney (J O’Rourke 57), M Hughes; E Fyfe.
R Hanna (Belfast).