UCC 1 Cobh Wanderers 0: A late Sean McLoughlin goal saw Noel Healy’s UCC claim the Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Premier Division title as they got the better of Cobh Wanderers at The Mardyke last night.
UCC went into the game knowing a draw would be enough to secure the league crown with Wanderers needing the win if they were to win a first premier division title in the club’s history.
With Wanderers flat out in search of a winner and UCC looking threatening on the break, McLoughlin calmly side-footed into the top corner of Michael Devine’s net from the edge of the box seven minutes from time to spark joyous celebrations at the famous old venue.
It was no more than Healy’s side deserved over the course of a fantastic season for the College side as they added a league title to the Collingwood Cup they won earlier this year.
You’d have to feel sorry for Michael Deasy’s Cobh side however, who have been superb all season but have had a horrendous month of May - going down at the final hurdle in the FAI Intermediate Cup, Beamish Cup and now the league.
The opening exchanges were devoid of much action with both sides looking a touch nervous in front of a big crowd and with so much at stake.
It took until the 13th minute for the first effort on goal when Wanderers midfielder Michael O’Shea tried his luck from long range but the ball flew narrowly wide.
Conor Meade had a good chance to put the visitors in front midway through the half after Stephen Griffin’s flick but the Wanderers striker couldn’t lift the ball over the out-rushing Cathal O’Hanlon.
The students began to come more into the game as the half wore on and Shane Daly-Butz looked a threat as he began to see more of the ball. It was Daly-Butz who got to the byline 10 minutes before the break and pulled back a great ball which was crying out for someone to get on the end of but Eoin Hastings did well to put the ball out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, big defender Sean O’Mahony lost his marker but couldn’t get enough on the ball as his effort bounced up off the turf and agonisingly inches over Michael Devine’s crossbar.
With the UCC defence relatively untroubled in the first-half, Deasy must have been demanding more of his side during his half-time team talk. And his side started the second-half the brighter with Dave Curran having a good effort saved by O’Hanlon early in the second-half.
James Stoat had the best chance of the game shortly after coming on as substitute but he rushed his effort when put through on goal and screwed his volley wide from just inside the box.
With time running out and badly in need of a goal, Wanderers could find no way past the well organised UCC defence and then were hit with a sucker punch when McLoughlin popped up late to wrap up the title.
O’Hanlon; Buttimer, McLoughlin, O’Mahony, McAuliffe; O’Callaghan, Daly-Butz, T Murphy (O’Brien 65), Lucy, M Murphy, Pender.
Devine; Hastings, Fitzgerald, J Meade, Downing; Griffin (O’Flynn 58), O’Shea, Curran (Geasley 86), Stack (Stoat 58); C Meade, Stapleton.
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