In the CUFL Premier Quarter-Final at St.Clare’s, DCU men’s senior soccer team saw their league campaign come to an end after a 2-0 loss to Waterford IT.
Two perfectly executed free-kicks either side of half-time by WIT’s Kevin O’Connor gave the away side the victory on a bitterly cold afternoon.
When Michael Isichei failed to control the ball on the left-wing in first half stoppage time, WIT broke at pace. O’Connor was taken down just outside the DCU box. A free was awarded and he dusted himself down before curling a beautiful left-footed effort over the wall and in off the underside of the bar with the last kick of the half.
Just ten minutes after the restart the excellent O’Connor was at it again. DCU’s Shane McCann slid in recklessly to give O’Connor the chance to strike another free-kick from an almost identical position.
This time O’Connor changed his style and aimed for the goalkeeper’s side. Again it was executed to perfection as the ball snuck just inside the post and gave DCU the proverbial mountain to climb. Unfortunately for the Glasnevin men they hadn’t got their hiking boots on.
The two goals were no less than O’Connor deserved as himself and Waterford United’s Mikie Rowe combined effectively up front all game and gave the DCU defence a tough time for 90 minutes.
The combination play up front from WIT was never matched by the DCU attackers and Alan O’Sullivan cut an isolated figure up front. Despite that, DCU had the best chance to go ahead early on.
Mark Walshe picked up the ball on the right-wing and sent a low cross to the near post. Michael Isichei met it with an instinctive back-heel but his effort bounced out off the outside of the upright.
Just before WIT’s second, Daniel Mahon was close to pulling the hosts level. He met David Gaul’s deep cross with a powerful header but it was tipped over by Matthew Connor in the WIT goal.
At 2-0 WIT dropped off and DCU had most of the play in the final half hour. Right-Winger Mahon was moved inside to support O’Sullivan and centre-midfielder Luke Kelly began to make runs in behind the WIT back four.
Direct balls towards O’Sullivan were the order of the day late on and with 12 minutes remaining it looked as though a long ball might reap dividends when the former Aberdeen man snuck in behind to give himself a one-on-one. Unfortunately his left-footed shot wasn’t struck sweetly and Connor made a save with his legs.
With five minutes left O’Sullivan got past three WIT defenders and cut inside, but his curling shot to the bottom corner was tipped away by Connor who could be proud of his performance in goal for WIT.
For manager Declan Roche it’s now time to analyse where it all went wrong.
There was very little between the teams but unfortunately for the home side, individual errors from Isichei and and McCann ultimately cost them the game.
WIT: Matthew Connor, Cormac Breslin, Robbie Mulligan, John Frost, Ian Sinnott, Killian Cantwell, Conor Coad, James Kenny, Mikie Rowe, Kevin O’Connor, Sean Hurley,
DCU : Christopher O’Donnell, Robbie Gaul, Shane McCann, Jack Memery, Tom Lehiff (Phillip Kavanagh), Luke Kelly, Daniel Mahon, Darren Craven, Alan O’Sullivan, Mark Walshe (Conor Ralf), Michael Isichei (David Gaul)
Image Credit: Gianluca Avagnina