In a remarkable series of events, the Stephen Coen captained freshers footballers gave a stirring second-half display to complete the championship/league double to the despair of early leaders UCC at O’Moore Park on Tuesday afternoon last.
It took some time for UCD to find their composure and rhythm but when they did there were lethal consequences for the Cork men. At first, UCC were more dominant under the kick-outs and their lively attackers ensured that the rebels led by four after 20 minutes. What followed signalled the UCD resurgence. Dylan Kilgallon became more and more effective as he worked in tandem with Tipperary’s spectacular dual prospect Colin O’Riordan. A key clog in UCD’s attacking force was Conor McCarthy as the Monaghan man upped the tempo with some impressive bursts, which earned him 0-4 in all (2 frees). Upon the restart, McCarthy’s work was embellished by the UCD attack and the cohesion of force was epitomised by All-Ireland Minor Football winning-captain Stephen Coen, who popped up for a pair of points to settle the Belfield Boys. UCD, who were under the tutelage of Stephen O’Shaughnessy, Damien Farrelly and Shane McEntee, enjoyed a terrific second-half display, which saw them hold their opponents scoreless.
UCD’s fate looked ominous after 10 minutes when Jordan Kiely danced his way through for a goal putting UCC 1-2 to 0-2 clear, after Colin O’Riordan and Ryan Basquel had landed points. The opening half was a tumultuous affair as both sides were grinding it out – something which gave rise to an entertaining tussle. Dylan Kilgallon and Stephen Coen began to win around midfield and so a number of forwards, including Seán Meade, began to rip through the UCC defence but they had to settle for points due to the tenacity of the UCC back-line. Ryan Basquel’s point before the interval cut UCD’s gap to 1-6 to 0-8.
Just six minutes had gone after the restart when Brian Byrne did what UCD had got used to: tearing through their opponents’ defence. The Kildare man levelled matters and it was apt that two minutes later Colin O’Riordan put UCD in front for the second time of the game after 38 minutes. Larry Moran and Stephen Coen clipped some beautiful points near the end and Coen’s second consecutive effort completed an eight-point turn-around as the UCD men celebrated a sweet victory.
UCD Scorers: Conor McCarthy 0-4 (2 frees), Stephen Coen, Colin O’Riordan and Colm Basquel (0-2 each), Brian Byrne (0-1 free), Michael Monaghan and Larry Moran (0-1 each).
UCD: Colm Honan, Eoin Murchan, Seán Mullooly, Seán Conlon, Eoin Lafferty, Stephen Coen (capt.), Brian Harnan, Larry Moran, Colin O’Riordan, Dylan Kilgallon, Brian Byrne, Michael Monaghan, Conor McCarthy, Colm Basquel, Seán Meade. Subs: Ryan Haughey, Darragh O’Brien, James Feehan, Declan Byrne, Jim Rossiter, Killian Lavelle, Kevin Killion, Benjamin Kelly, Liam Hughes, Daire Quinn, Jake Malone, Peter Thorton, Ben Cowman, Enda Macken, Tom Hayes.
Referee – John Hickey (Carlow).