Thursday, March 16, 2017

UCD 0, Blues 2 (10/3/17, Belfield Bowl, Dublin)

Before a decent travelling contingent of fans, the Blues emerged victorious in the first 'big game' of the season against the early pace setters, UCD. Happy days!

It wasn't all plain sailing however. The students played a very impressive first forty five and enjoyed the better of the exchanges as the Blues struggled to come to terms with the energy of the home side's midfield. UCD bossed this area for much of the first half and really looked impressive. The Blues had relatively few chances before the break.

The second half was a different story and credit must go to whoever gave the half time talk. It certainly worked and the difference was obvious very early on as the Blues took control and eventually made their improved form pay dividends with two goals from Patrick McLean and Tom Smith; a first competitive goal for each . Both scores were greeted with wild celebration by the travelling fans. Indeed there could have been several more, as the Blues pushed forward more and more as the half wore on.

Smith was in super form and is fast becoming a big favourite in a Blues shirt. He was the popular choice for man-of-the-match and if he continues in this form he will be the key man in the months ahead. The big worry for Blues' fans is that he will be recalled by Swindon, one of Lee Power's other clubs, now struggling in the League 1 relegation zone.

The decisive first goal was headed home on the hour by Patrick McLean after a corner from the right was headed upwards and dropped into the six yard box. Amazingly Kenny McEvoy was not blown for offside, standing on the goal line. The second goal was scored five minutes from the end when David McDaid's pass put Tom Smith through on goal. He beat the cover and found the net with a crisp shot.

Kenny McEvoy contributed impressively after the break although he struggled during the first period to beat his marker out on the right wing, despite seeing plenty of the ball. Dave Mulcahy once again showed all his experience at the back alongside Kenny Brown, now close to his imperious best. Garry Comerford caught the eye as did David McDaid.....no goals for him this week but one assist and an all round top notch performance.

The weather was perfect for football but the pitch was poor in places as result of recent usage for rugby football. The attendance was poor as always at the Bowl - Blues' fans nearly outnumbered the home fans.

The draw between Cobh and Shels on Saturday means that the Blues have now surfaced as table toppers and Blues' fans everywhere will be hoping for clear run from here.

Next up in the league come Shels in Tolka Park (yuk!) on Friday and then two games against Wexford, one of them (away) in the EA Sports Cup.

C'mon the Blues!

Blues: Ian McLoughlin, Shane O'Connor, Patrick McLean, Kenny Browne, Dave Mulcahy, Kenny McEvoy (Dean O'Halloran '76), Sander Puri, Tom Smith (Robin Dempsey '92), Garry Comerford, Anthony McAlavey, David McDaid (Dean Walsh '88).

Unused subs: Derek Daly, Matthew Connor, Jake Evans, Gary Delaney


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