Carlow 2-1 UCFL

The UCFL representative team lost out narrowly to 2017-18 winners, the Carlow & District League in their second game in the Oscar Traynor competition on Saturday (24/11/2018).

In the end, Carlow were deserving winners as they enjoyed slightly more possession in their opponents’ half and created more chances overall, but the UCFL displayed excellent organisation throughout, threatening frequently and remained well in the game right to the end.

The opening 20 minutes were evenly contested, with Ayuba Salaudeen in particular enjoying some moments of prominence on his first start for the UCFL team. The first chance of note fell to Carlow on 10 minutes when Mark Davis cut in from the right and shot over from 25 yards, but the UCFL had a better opportunity after 17 minutes when Conor Blaine played a brilliant ball over the Carlow defence only for Sam Jackson to fire hastily over.

However, Carlow took the lead on 22 minutes with an outstanding effort, although there was a touch of good fortune about it, a free kick move being initially blocked by a UCFL defender, only for Craig Comerfors to swing his left boot at the dropping ball and connect perfectly to send an unstoppable effort into the far corner of the net to put his side 1-0 up.

There followed an uncomfortable period for the UCFL as they sought to maintain their foothold in the game but they managed to limit Carlow to just one chance, with Phil Neenan shooting over after 32 minutes. Indeed, the UCFL also threatened on occasion themselves, Salaudeen’s rushed shot from the edge of the box bringing a save from Jamie Hennessy in the Carlow goal.

If Carlow enjoyed some luck for their opening goal, the UCFL benefitted from a large slice of it for their equaliser 5 minutes before half-time when the referee inadvertently blocked a Carlow clearance, allowing the UCFL to regain possession before working the ball to Salaudeen whose scuffed shot from the edge of the area rolled into the path of Sam Jackson and he made no mistake from 10 yards to level the scores.

Carlow produced a quick response and David Frewen did well to tip over Stevie Chalton’s shot a couple of minutes later and the sides reached half-tie tied at 1-1.

Carlow were first to threaten again after the break, Ethan O’Neill firing a free kick narrowly wide, though it appeared that Frewen had it covered. But the UCFL quickly showed that they would remain competitive as Dave Marmion drove forward before dinking a perfect ball into the area where Jackson just failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.

Jackson had another chance after 55 minutes, racing onto a through ball, but his first touch let him down allowing Hennessy to force him wide and the chance was lost.

However, Carlow then enjoyed a good period, with a couple of scrambles in the UCFL penalty box, the first ending with a header just past the post and the second requiring a goal line clearance. Carlow maintained the pressure and though Jackson again forced a save from the Carlow keeper midway through the half, it took the crossbar to save the UCFL on 72 minutes after a fine run and shot by Danny Doyle.

But there was to be no reprieve just a minute later as Carlow attacked down the right and the low centre evaded Frewen before being turned in from a couple of yards, despite a hint of offside.

Carlow rarely threatened in the final 15 minutes as the UCFL sought a second equaliser. The closest they came was a run from substitute Dermot Blaine who worked his way to the byeline with 7 minutes left before cutting the ball back but there was no-one in 6yard box to apply the finish.

With the Defence Forces beating the LSL, the UCFL are now out of contention for the knockout stages of this season’s competition. However, they will take significant encouragement from their performance in Saturday’s game having pushed last season’s winners all the way. The UCFL will complete their programme with a third game against the already qualified Defence Forces at a date and venue which will be confirmed shortly.

UCFL – David Frewen (VEC FC), Dave Darmion (Harding IF FC), Gavin Murphy (VEC FC), Peter O’Brien (VEC FC), Brian O’Regan (C) (Harding IF FC), Bobby Haughton (Harding IF FC), Ray Jaudzems (VEC FC), Ayuba Salaudeen (Castle Celtic), Andy Hedderman (Glasnaion FC), Sam Jackson (VEC FC), Conor Blaine (Coolock Village FC). Subs – Conor McGreal (Castle Celtic) for Blaine, Dermot Blaine (Coolock Village) for Haughton, Neil Love (South William Street Celtic) for Salaudeen; not used – Richie Hanniffy (VEC FC).

Carlow – 1. Jamie Hennessy, 2. Michael Calvey, 3. Stevie Chalto, 4. Robert Dowling, 5. Mark Boland, 6. Phil Neenan, 7. Mark Davis, 8. Cathal Coughlan, 9. Danny Doyle, 10. Ethan O’Neill, 11. Craig Comerford (C). Subs – 12. Micahel Mullen, 13, Brian Mullen, 14. Aaron Morris, 15. Chris Gaule, 16. Roy Byrne, 18. Craig Walker.

28/03/2019 11:47