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UCD v Kerry FC

Match Report – UCD v Kerry FC



Kerry were back on the road on the Bank Holiday Monday as they faced UCD for their first-ever trip to the capital. It was a quick turnaround from Friday’s game which saw Conor McCarthy’s men draw at home against Wexford FC.

UCD came into the game with three wins in a row over Athlone Town, Cobh Ramblers, and Longford Town respectively. The confidence in the team was flying as they look to get back to the Premier Division where they had been for the previous two years. Kerry made a couple changes from Friday night with Victor Udeze and Cian Brosnan starting ahead of Ryan Kelliher and Sam Aladesanusi who was still feeling the effects of his collision on Friday night which forced him off in the first half.

Kerry FC fans were happy with the current unbeaten run by the first team, but UCD was a completely different test and knew that the team needed to be on their A-game if they were to come away from the bowl with the five-game unbeaten streak still intact.

First Half:
Kerry had their first sight of goal when they earned a corner which was swung in by Cian Brosnan. The ball reached Andy Spain who got his head to it but was not anywhere near strong enough to trouble Kian Moore. Daire McCarthy added an effort from far out just six minutes later but was well wide of goal.

UCD had the majority of the possession in the early parts of the game but were not creating anything concrete. Michael McCullagh and Ciaran Behan tried shots from outside the area in an attempt to break the Kerry resistance, but both were saved and gathered by Antonio Tuta. The second attempt was more challenging for the Croatian shot-stopper, but he eventually got down and covered the ball saving any incoming danger of the ball going into an empty net.

Two minutes after the second shot on goal, UCD took the lead. Ciaran Behan who tested the waters earlier had plenty of space to go for yet another effort on goal. He hit the jackpot on this occasion and his left-footed effort darted straight into the right side of the goal giving the hosts the lead with eleven minutes before the break. Behan was involved again five minutes after the goal but not for the right reasons as he was booked for simulation which was not contested by many of his teammates.

The half-finished in a lead for UCD, and it was evident Kerry would need a big pep talk ahead of the second half. Many times, similar to this last season, the game would be finished and done but the resilience Kerry FC has shown in 2024 has been something we did not see at all last year giving them all the chance in the world of getting back into this game.

Second Half:
Kennedy Amechi and Ryan Kelliher replaced Victor Udeze and Cian Brosnan at halftime in an attempt to salvage something in the second half and just twelve minutes after the restart they did so thanks to Daniel Okwute. Okwute was persistent in creating a chance with the ball on the right wing and got away from two tackles on the flank. His first cross was blocked, and it came back to him to try again which he did and although it went straight into the hands of Moore, the keeper dropped the ball into the back of his own net. Even though it was not as pretty on the eye as his goal away against Athlone, he did not care in the slightest and Kerry were back in it

The goal in the early stages of the half gave this Kerry team the world of confidence and they were playing much better than the opening half. UCD were going without possession for substantial portions and were being forced back by this rejuvenated Kerry FC team.

UCD had another couple of big chances towards the end of the game with Ciaran Behan having a header at the near post go just wide of Antonio Tuta’s left-hand post. Michael McCullagh had a shot go over the crossbar too as time was running out for both sides to get the winner.

Kerry thought they had won it as a ninety-second minute, but Ryan Kelliher’s goal was ruled out for offside. After further inspection after the game, it was fair to say the right call had been made. The rest of injury time was played out and Kerry came out of Dublin in their first trip to the capital with a point.

Just one game away from the first quarter of the season being completed and already Kerry FC have half of their points total of last season. The team is definitely going places and getting better and better each week. Once again, they hope to get that much-needed first-ever League of Ireland home win on Friday night when they take on basement side Longford Town in Mounthawk Park.

UCD Team: 1. Kian Moore, 2. Alex Dunne, 3. Adam Wells, 5. Harvey O’Brien, 6. Sean Brennan, 7. Michael McCullagh, 9. Michael Raggett, 10. Ciaran Behan (Goal ’34), 13. Donal Higgins, 18. Niall Holohan, 29. Jake Doyle.

Subs: Dara Kavanagh, Harry Curtis, Colin Bolton, Danu Kinsella Bishop, Ryan McBrearty, Adam Verdon, Luke O’Regan, Hugh Parker, Stephen Mohan.

Kerry FC Team: 1. Antonio Tuta, 15. Kevin Williams, 5. Andy Spain (C), 6. Ethan Kos, 3. Sean O’Connell, 21. Daire McCarthy, 7. Sean McGrath, 8. Ronan Teahan, 22. Victor Udeze, 11. Daniel Okwute (Goal ’57), 17. Cian Brosnan.

Subs: Darragh Foley, Steven Healy, Ryan Kelliher, Kennedy Amechi, Togor Silong, Samuel Aladesanusi, Finn Barrett, Graham O’Reilly, Cianan Cooney.