Cobh Ramblers 0 UCD 2
DARREN Murphy is still waiting for his first league win as Cobh Ramblers boss after going down to defeat against UCD at St Colman’s Park on Saturday evening.
Although it was an improved performance from the derby defeat last time out, Cobh will be disappointed to have nothing to show for their efforts especially after on occasions a decent second-half display.
The result sees UCD move into third place in the table on goal difference, as the Students look well on track for a promotion playoff spot.
From the derby outing against Cork City last time out, Ramblers made four changes with Jake Hegarty, Ben O’Riordan, Conor Drinan and Jason Abbott coming into the starting eleven for Darren Murphy’s side.
UCD posed an attacking threat in the opening stages to the Cobh defence. Republic Of Ireland U21 international Colm Whelan showed glimpses of the quality which sees him as the top finished in the First Division, as he saw his strike inside the penalty area come off the crossbar with just two minutes played on the clock.
Ramblers went close themselves to opening the scoring a few minutes through a Jason Abbott free effort, which forced UCD shot-stopper Lorcan Healy into a decent early save.
The opening quarter was quite a tight affair and there was little between the two sides. The Students had another sighting of goal on 20 minutes, but Whelan fired wide of the mark with a low effort from the edge of the box.
Cobh were seeing plenty of the ball in the attacking third of the pitch, but they generally in the opening half found clear-cut chances from play hard to come by.
As the opening half came towards the concluding stages, Abbott had another free for Ramblers from a decent position just outside the penalty area, but he was to fire his attempt high and wide. Cobh ended the first half strongly and there were signs of encouragement to take into the second half.
In the 47th minute, the ball fell nicely to Ramblers attacker Conor Drinan in a decent position, but he was unable to properly connect with his strike and pose a significant threat to Healy in the UCD goal.
Cobh began the second half well and they threatened from a corner kick, while a few moments later David O’Leary got a well-struck shot away from distance.
UCD were seemingly unable to get a foothold in the contest like in the opening half generally, which was a credit to the setup and organisation being applied by Ramblers.
The away side did manage to get a headed effort away just shy of the hour mark through Mark Dignam. This was just moments before Whelan had a great chance for UCD from close range, which was saved well by the reactions of Cobh keeper Sean Barron.
Ramblers had by this stage their best chance of the game on 62 minutes, when Conor Drinan blasted straight at the UCD netminder from a decent position, following a fine through ball into his path.
In the 66th minute, UCD were awarded a penalty kick when Barron was adjudged to have taken down a visiting attacker inside the box. Whelan stepped up to dispatch the spot kick neatly for his 16th league goal of the season.
This was somewhat harsh on Ramblers who had produced a decent second-half performance up until that particular point.
Evan Weir went close to getting a second for UCD with a well-taken free-kick on 73 minutes, with the same player reacting well to block down a Stephen O’Leary strike.
Ramblers were pushing forward and putting good spells of play together in search of a levelling goal, but they were almost hit on the counter-attack as Adam Lennon threatened with an effort on the edge of the box.
Lennon did double the UCD lead heading into the final ten minutes of the contest after a cool finish.
Ramblers turn their attention to the FAI Cup next weekend away to Maynooth University Town.