UCC 0 Dundalk 5: EA Sports Cup champions Dundalk strolled into the semi-finals of this season’s competition as they dismantled the Munster Senior League’s UCC with the minimum of fuss at The Mardyke last night.
UCC were the last remaining non-league side in this season’s competition having taken the scalps of Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers in the previous rounds but Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk were always going to be a step above those first division outfits.
Kenny as promised rang the changes for this one as he made ten changes to the side that narrowly defeated Derry City on Friday night as he gave his youngsters a chance to impress and they duly obliged as they took Noel Healy’s side apart from the first whistle.
The champions were handed the ideal start inside the opening two minutes when Ciaran O’Connor got in behind the sleeping defence and lobbed the ball over the exposed goalkeeper Jason O’Mahony to put the Lilywhites in front.
Kyle O’Shea had a great chance to equalise for the students five minutes later when he got on the end of Jason Abbott’s flighted free-kick but couldn’t direct his header inside Gabriel Sava’s left hand post.
That was about the best it got for the home side as a far superior Dundalk outfit dominated possession and the second goal duly arrived in the 13th minute when Jake Kelly turned superbly in the box before smashing a tremendous left footed effort into the top corner of O’Mahony’s net.
Kelly then shot over from a good position and O’Connor shot wide before O’Mahony made a good stop to deny Kurtis Byrne as Dundalk looked to put the game to bed as early as possible.
Centre back Paddy Barrett, who was the only player who started against Derry, got in on the act in the 36th minute when he picked the ball up 35 yards from goal before curling a lovely left footed effort which nestled in the corner of O’Mahony’s net.
Despite winning the Collingwood Cup this season, UCC have been very inconsistent in the Munster Senior League and the gulf in class between the sides was all too evident in the first half with the Airtricity League champions’ superior strength and technique making all the difference.
Barrett made it four when he notched up his second of the night with another magnificent strike in the 56th minute – this time letting fly with his right foot from 35 yards as the ball flew into the roof of O’Mahony’s net.
Dundalk took their foot off the pedal after that and had to wait until the 79th minute for number five to arrive when John Mountney found Kurtis Byrne and the striker struck a superb right footed effort home from 25 yards.
The quality of finishing from Dundalk was simply outstanding last night and the quality of player that Kenny has at his disposal puts his side in pole position to dominate for years to come judging on this display.
J O’Mahony, Gannon, S O’Mahony, Hill, Murphy, S O’Callaghan, Abbott, B Murphy, O’Shea (McManus 88), C O’Callaghan (Mylod 71), Brown (Holmes 88).
Sava, Reilly (Doherty 82), Barrett (Murphy 56), Finnegan, Grimes, Kelly, Mountney, Poynton, Craven (Ubaezunonu 75), O’Connor, Byrne.
D Keeler (Cork)
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