Two of Ireland’s great soccer academies battle for glory today as UCC and UCD meet in the Irish Universities Collingwood Cup final at Maynooth University (2.30pm).
Daniel Pender was the UCC hero in the semi-final, his two well-taken second-half goals sending the Leesiders into their second final in three seasons.
Pender broke the deadlock to put UCC in front after an hour when he steered the ball past DCU keeper Lee Doyle from John Buttimer’s well delivered free.
DCU responded and 10 minutes later Rory Feely reacted quickest - after his initial free kick was blocked - to fire a rebound past goalkeeper Kevin O’Brien.
DCU looked the brighter for a period after the equaliser and Jack O’Connor and Luke Kelly both had decent chances, while Alan O’Sullivan fired wide from a good position.
But Pender finally secured the win with 10 minutes remaining when his brave header at the far post from Sean O’Callaghan’s brilliant right wing cross beat Doyle.
Holders UCD needed extra-time to progress as they came from a goal down to edge out University of Limerick, last season’s beaten finalist, 2-1. Garbhan Coughlan put the Limerick side ahead on 11 minutes with an audacious strike from just inside the UCD half.
The UL forward launched a high ball against the breeze and it hung in the air and drop down into the net behind a bemused keeper Niall Corbet.
A much sharper UCD side emerged after the break and they were quickly back on terms with Ben Hanrahan applying a neat finish to Belhout’s cross three minutes into the second-half.
Coughlan with a well placed pass gave Óisin McMenamin the chance to test Corbet but he fluffed his effort. At the other end Gary O’Neill saw a close range free kick come off the UL wall.
The tie was finally settled six minutes into the first period of extra-time when Jason McClelland stole in from the left wing to head home the winner after Conor Cannon had flicked on a well placed Dan Tobin cross.
Irish Universities Collingwood Cup (Final):
UCC v UCD, Maynooth University North Campus Pitch 1 (2.30pm).
Farquhar Cup (Final):
Trinity College v Queens University, Maynooth University North Campus All Weather (11am).
Colleges FAI Umbro Plate (Quarter final):
GMIT Galway ‘B’ v Dun Laoghaire IADT ‘B’, Mervue Utd All Weather (3.30pm).
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