Extra special Daniel Pender delivers for UCC in Collingwood Cup final

Daniel Pender proved the UCC matchwinner for the third successive day as UCC regained the Irish Universities Collingwood Cup with a dramatic injury-time goal to edge out holders UCD in the final at a wind and rainswept Maynooth University.

Pender’s header in the fourth minute of added time was a real heartbreaker for the Belfield side who had come back from going a goal behind after just over the half hour mark to level matters with 15 minutes remaining.

It was the winger’s fourth goal in three games after being on target in the 1-0 quarter final win over Trinity College and adding two further goals including the winner in the 3-2 semi-final defeat of DCU.

UCC had the best of the opening half and Sean O’Callaghan had put them in front with a cool finish to beat UCD ‘keeper Niall Corbet from the penalty spot on 32 minutes. Timmy Molloy might have snatched a UCD opener minutes earlier with their best chance of the half but he put his shot over the bar after Conor Cannon won a header to set him up.

The main threat from UCC came from their right flank where the pacy Sean O’Callaghan was getting past full-back Sean Coyne and firing over some dangerous crosses. It was from one these balls into the UCD area that led to the penalty being awarded when defender Josh Collins appeared to push Darragh Lucey and referee Peter O’Mahony immediately pointed to the penalty spot.

O’Callaghan himself took the kick and dispatched it past Corbet with ease.

Cannon came close to an equaliser on the stroke of half time when Molloy’s low cross into the six yard box reached him but he failed test goalkeeper Kevin O’Brien from close in.

UCD looked the brighter side after the break and showed a huge resolve to get back into the game but time and again they were thwarted by the top class defending of the Cork solid back four.

Central defenders skipper Sean O’Mahony and Sean McLoughlin were outstanding as they had been in all three games of this stamina sapping competition with McLoughlin picking up the Dr Tony O’Neill Player of the Tournament award at the finish.

UCD’s persistence finally paid off with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Georgie Kelly got a head to Liam Scales flick on to a Molloy corner from the right and placed his header out of O’Brien’s reach for a deserved equaliser.

Minutes later Daire O’Connor had a great chance to put the holders ahead but he blazed his effort from the edge of the box well over. While shortly after Scales headed over from a Gary O’Neill free kick.

UCC then had manager Noel Healy sent from the line for what appeared to have been a disagreement with the match officials. 

But the battle for this famous cup still wasn’t finished and UCC got back on top in the final 10 minutes and just as the game looked like it was heading to extra-time they struck with a winner. 

Ben McAuliffe swung a dangerous corner into the UCD box and Corbet did well to punch clear under pressure. 

McAuliffe quickly got on to the ball again and from his cross into a packet goalmouth Pender managed to get his head it and beat Corbet for famous winner.

UCC: K O’Brien; J Buttimer, S O’Mahony, S McLoughlin, B McAuliffe; R Lynch, T Murphy; S O’Callaghan (D Dalton 89), D Pender, S Daly-Butz; D Lucey.

Subs not used: D O’Gorman, M Murphy, D Hemmingway, A O’Brien, J Cullinane. C O’Hanlon.

UCD: N Corbet; D Tobin, J Collins, L Scales. S Coyne; G Sloggett (G Kelly 65), G O’Neill; S Belhout (D O’Connor 70), T Molloy, J McClelland (C Feeney h-t); C Cannon.

Subs not used: M Kouogun, J Dineen, G Sheridan, Y Mahdy.

Referee: P O’Mahony (Dublin).


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