Report: Rovers 2-2 UCD

The Bit O’ Red hosted UCD at The Showgrounds on Saturday night in what was our third home game in just over one week. Liam Buckley’s side were looking to bounce back from two defeats against Shelbourne and Bohemians last time out and the visitors UCD were smarting from a 2-0 defeat against Derry City at Belfield on Monday.

There was one change made to the starting line up from Tuesday’s match with Niall Morahan replaced by Jordan Hamilton in midfield.

Rovers made the better of the opening stages with chances falling to Jordan Hamilton, who went through one on one with UCD ‘keeper Lorcan Healy but Healy denied him with a good save. Max Mata went close soon after after good work between him and Will Fitzgerald but UCD cleared their lines.

In the 22nd minute Rovers’ took the lead. A corner from the left was swing in dangerously by Karl O’ Sullivan and Mata rose highest in the box to nod him from 6 yards out. It was the New Zealander’s first goal for the club and it kept The Bit O’ Red in front at half time.

Paddy Kirk replaced Robbie McCourt at half time and Rovers started the second period brightly. Karl O’ Sullivan and Lewis Banks were a real threat down the right and the latter had a shot from the edge of the area fly just wide.

However on 57 minutes, UCD equalised. Liam Kerrigan found space in the middle. The Tubbercurry man found Colm Whelan on the edge of the box and he unleashed an unstoppable strike past McGinty into the top corner.

A few minutes later Hamilton and Mata combined and Hamilton’s cross went all the way to Banks at the back post but his effort was cleared off the line.

Hamilton was forced off on 73 minutes, replaced by Seamas Keogh and the visitors took the lead on 77 minutes. Evan Caffrey side-footing home past McGinty from close range.

Rovers threw everything forward in the final ten minutes and six minutes from time were rewarded when Greg Bolger’s long free kick found the head of Mata who scored his second to bring us level.

David Cawley was introduced for Adam McDonnell soon after as Rovers tried to grab a winner and had half chances through Cawley, Banks and Mata but it wasn’t to be and Derek Tomney’s whistle signaled the end and both sides must make do with a point a piece.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to Dundalk next Friday at 7.45pm before a trip to Ballybofey to face Finn Harps three days later at 6pm.