Report: UCD 0-2 Rovers

Friday night saw Sligo Rovers travel to Dublin to take on UCD at The UCD Bowl.

This would be the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with the hosts remaining unbeaten in the previous three fixtures having won at The Showgrounds in July, following on from two earlier season draws.

Rover were without long-term absentees Luke McNicholas and Garry Buckley who remain out with ankle and knee injuries respectively. Max Mata was also nursing a knock and wasn’t risked for the game.

Niall Morahan came into midfield for David Cawley, partnered by Robbie Burton who replaced Greg Bolger from our previous game against Shamrock Rovers. Will Fitzgerald replaced the injured Mata with Aidan Keena moving to a central position up front.

Both sides looked to get the ball down early and play through midfield to create chances. Rovers were patient in approach, with Burton and Morahan controlling the ball well and keeping the hosts to little or no chances.

The first chance of the game fell to Aidan Keena, the ball falling to him on the edge of the area and his shot stung the hands of the UCD goalkeeper.

Sean Brennan then had a chance for the students as he found space on the right and got a shot away but Richard Brush was equal to it on Rovers’ goal.

Keena was at the forefront again soon after, his goal bound effort was well saved by Moore in the UCD goal on 13 minutes.

Five minutes later, Rovers were deservedly in front. Jack Keaney lost possession and Keena broke forward. Adam McDonnell made a great run alongside him and Keena slipped it into the midfielder’s path, leaving him one on one with Moore before cooly dinking it over the advancing goalkeeper to give Rovers the lead.

The Bit O’ Red kept possession well after that and looked to create more chances before the half time whistle but UCD held out and Rovers went in 1-0 up at the break.

One negative for John Russell in the first half was the withdrawal of Colm Horgan through injury, the defender replaced by Lewis Banks on 36 minutes.

Nine minutes into the second half, Keena had another half chance but he couldn’t quite control Will Fitzgerald’s pass and the goalkeeper pounced to gather the ball.

Just two minutes later though and it was 2-0. McDonnell again ran clear in behind and rounded Moore to slot into the empty net after some good build up play.

It was all Rovers at this point and Keena again tested his luck after good work on the right from Frank Liivak. The strikers strong effort was saved by Moore.

Kailin Barlow, Seamas Keogh and Eanna Clancy were all introduced in the final ten minutes by John Russell in place of Niall Morahan, Shane Blaney and Robbie Burton and Rovers finished strong and secured three points thanks to those two McDonnell goals.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to Casey’s Field to play Dundalk on Friday October 21st.