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Two goals from substitute Thomas Dunne secured St Pats CY a place in the Leinster Senior Cup final as they executed a spectacular win over UCD at Belfield on Monday night.
We only had to wait three minutes for the opening goal and it came from a disastrous mistake by UCD keeper Mark McGinley who mishandled a simple ball, allowing Gary O’Connor to dispossess him and roll the ball into an empty net.
For the remainder of the half it was UCD who called the shots, dominating possession and playing the brand of passing football that the Students have become known for. But, for all that, UCD failed to turn that into any genuine threat on the St Pats goal.
Stephen Doyle hit a twisting free kick narrowly over on 26 minutes and Dean Clarke was played through two minutes later only to screw his shot wastefully wide. The industry of St Pats midfielder Alan Murphy threatened to open up the UCD defence in the latter stages of the half but it was the Students who came closest in the lead up to the break, Danny Ledwith crashing a free kick off the St Pats bar on 44 minutes.
Within seven minutes of the restart the Student’s had pulled themselves level when Graham Rusk tucked away a chance from eight yards, having been played clean through by a precisely cushioned header from Stephen Doyle.
The tide of play continued towards the goal of the Leinster Senior League side as UCD continued to pass their way through their opponents. There seemed little danger of St Pats regaining the lead and Dean Clarke almost put UCD ahead when he lobbed Philip O’Connor just after the hour mark, only to see his effort bounce wide.
Ten minutes later the Pats ‘keeper upended Graham Rusk inside his area and the striker stepped up to plant his penalty into the right hand corner to give his side the lead that had been looming for some time.
It was hard to see how St Pats could reverse the status quo, so comprehensive was UCD’s dominance at that point, but with 15 minutes left Lee Roche guided a far post header into the home net, only for the linesman’s flag to deny the equaliser. Still, it was a signal that the result was not yet cast in stone.
Sensing that new blood was required to turn this moment of promise into reality, St Pats manager John Young threw on Thomas Dunne and Aidan Roche and on 79 minutes Dunne clattered a 25 yard shot into the UCD net seconds after Rhona Daly had waved away a penalty appeal when Lee Roche went down inside the Students’ box.
If this wasn’t shocking enough Dunne added a second just moments later, thrashing in a winner that had seemed utterly unlikely just ten minutes earlier. Having gone behind UCD gathered themselves and set about a rescue attempt, but despite dominating the closing stages of the game there was to be no way back.
The final whistle was greeted with euphoria by the non-league side and with disbelief by Martin Russell’s men. Despite playing the better football for the vast majority of the game UCD are out and it is St Pats CY that progress to the final.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Mark Langtry, Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Ciaran Nangle; Dean Clarke, Stephen Doyle, Daniel Ledwith, Robbie Benson, Barry McCabe, Dean Clarke; Samir Belhout (Graham Rusk 11).
Subs not used: Niall Corbet, David O’Connor, Paul O’Conor, Paul Corry, Gary Burke.
St Pats CY: Philip O’Connor; Lea Weafer, Thomas Nolan, Andy Doolan, Glen O’Connor; Alan Murphy (Thomas Dunne 78), Dean Young, Conor Riddick (Graham Hannigan 31), Carl O’Brien (Aidan Roche 78), Gary O’Connor; Lee Roche.
Subs not used: Stephen Murphy, Warren Behan, Dean Kinsella, Paul Healy, Graham Hannigan, Aidan Roche.
Bookings: Young (43), Weafer (57), Glen O’Connor (59), P O’Connor (71).
Referee: Rhona Daly.
Attendance: 150 (est).
Extratime Man of the Match: Thomas Dunne (St Pats CY). It is rare to see a player make such a difference in such a short period of time.