The game plan was very quickly changed for UCD when they played Shelbourne on Friday night at UCD Bowl. The Students found themselves 1-0 down after just 16 seconds of the match. They were a man up after 13 minutes but they couldn’t exploit the red card shown to Shelbourne’s Sean Byrne to get back on level terms with Shelbourne and UCD conceded another goal to eventually lose 2-0.
UCD’s manager Martin Russell acknowledged that Shelbourne were the more determined side in Belfield as the visitors put in a controlled defensive display to shut out UCD.
“You want to settle into the game and suddenly you find yourself 1-0 down,” said Russell speaking after the game. “It is credit to their discipline. They remained compact and put pressure on us when they needed to put pressure on us in their half.
“Over the course of the game after they scored that goal and had a man sent off not so long after it, it was a case of they had something to hold onto. They worked hard for each other. We had a lot of the ball and didn’t probably work the goalkeeper enough with the amount of ball that we had.”
Extratime.ie asked Russell about the three at the back formation that UCD deployed from the kick off on Friday. It was a formation that was instrumental in UCD gaining a point in their second half comeback from 2-0 down against Champions Shamrock Rovers in the previous game.
“We have done it a couple of times before tonight. We’ve usually used it in the second part of a game or if we were chasing a game. But with the personnel we have at the moment, I’ve no problem playing that from the start. It gives us options to spread the game and get an extra striker up front. For me, it is a positive shape. But whatever shape you play, you can’t get caught on the ball or lose focus.”
Shelbourne restricted UCD to just two shots on goal as the visitors worked really hard in closing down the Students when the home side had the ball.
“We just needed a little bit more guile in an attacking sense to get a clear chance. Even at the end when we got that chance, Andy Boyle got a foot in to block Paul O’Conor to stop a certain goal. Credit to Shelbourne for working hard. Our lads but a good bit of effort in without having that killer instinct to create that golden chance.
“We huffed and puffed. Possession wise we probably had double the amount that they had on the ball. We couldn’t unlock them. In the next game, we may not have as much of the ball and we may score. Football can be funny that way. We will keep on encouraging them and improving in the areas where we think we need to improve.”
UCD midfielder Paul Corry is on standby for the Ireland under 21 team’s upcoming games against Denmark in Tallaght Stadium and Italy in the Sligo Showgrounds following his recent good form and his manager says this is due recognition.
“Paul Corry put in a great performance on top of the recent ones since he came back into the team. It is there for all to see that he is a talented young player. He is getting credit for his performances but that is well deserved.”
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller