08 Feb 2018
Drama has become synonymous with the RUSTLERS IUFU Collingwood Cup Final in recent years and the 2018 edition was no different as Daire O’Connor netted a wonderful 93rd minute winner for UCD against Queen’s University in the QUB Upper Malone.
A magnificent injury-time strike from Daire O’Connor gave a 10-man UCD a hard fought victory over home side Queens University in the RustlersCollingwood Cup in Belfast. However, it was no more than the Belfield side deserved after playing the whole of the second without striker Georgie Kelly and skipper Gary O’Neill. Kelly was shown a controversial red card by referee Ryan Hanna in the closing minutes of the first half for a foul on Eamon Fyfe. O’Neill failed to appear for the second half after picking up a knee injury earlier in the half following a heavy late challenge from centre back Callum Byers that the official deemed warranted only a yellow card.
Timmy Molloy had given the Dublin side the lead midway through the first half before Ronan Young equalised on the stroke of half-time with an excellent free kick. Both sides went at it in wet, cold conditions in the second half and there were chances to win it but with time running out and extra time looming and the sides still level on one a piece, Timmy Molloy’s accurate pass picked out the lively O’Connor, who took a touch before firing a powerful drive well out of the reach of Queens ‘keeper Conor Lally.
Both sides made a couple of changes from the semi-finals with Callum Smith and Conor Kerr put in from the start for Queen’s, and Dungannon Swifts Jarlath O’Rourke brought into the side as a substitute. UCD made three changes. Darragh McConville was a forced change in place of the suspended Josh Collins and Greg Sloggett and Gavin Sheridan were put in ahead of Yoyo Mahdy and Conor Kearns.
UCD started the brighter of the two and good interchange of play between Sloggett and O’Connor teed up Molloy to open the scoring just inside the Queen’s box. It could have been two when O’Connor again teed up Jason McClelland but the 2017 World University Games player dragged his shot outside of the post.
Queen’s were brought back into the game when Ronan Young stepped up from twenty-five yards and curled his free kick beyond the outstretched Gavin Sheridan and into the top-corner.
The half ended in controversy when Georgie Kelly was dismissed for a lunge on Eamon Fyfe. Initially referee Ryan Hanna had issued the Donegal forward with a yellow card but following consultation with his linesman who was yards away, he then produced a red card for Kelly.
UCD were dealt another blow during the half-time break as captain Gary O’Neill was forced to end his involvement in the final after being on the receiving end of a hefty challenge from Callum Byers in the first half.
The Dublin side had the better chances in the second half with O’Connor and Liam Scales having the best of the opportunities. O’Rourke was brought off the bench and he nearly won it when he found space in front of goal and Sheridan pulled off a good save and released the ball up top where O’Connor broke away and forced an even better save from Conor Lally.
Deep into stoppage time, O’Connor picked the ball up outside the box 20 yards out on the left flank. He drove inside and curled the ball into the far corner to send the UCD bench into pandemonium and delivered their 47th Collingwood Cup success.
QUB – Conor Lally, Callum Smith, Conor Kerr (Josh Curry 78’), Ross Larkin, Callum Byers, Sean O’Reilly, Ronan Young, Kevin Niblock, Daire Rooney (Jarlath O’Rourke 58’), Eamon Fyfe, Matt Hughes.
Subs Unused: Gareth Keenan, Gareth Orr, Mark Megarry, Leon Bonnes, Andy Black.
UCD – Gavin Sheridan, Dan Tobin, Darragh McConville (Sean Coyne 84’), Maxim Kouogun, Liam Scales, Gary O’Neill (Gareth Coughlan 46'), Daire O'Connor, Gregory Sloggett, Georgie Kelly, Timmy Molloy, Jason McClelland (Sean Byrne 88’).
Subs Unused: Conor Kearns, Paul Doyle, Yoyo Mahdy, Colm Feeney.
Referee: Ryan Hanna
RUSTLERS IUFU Dr. Tony O’Neill Player of the Collingwood Cup – Daire O’Connor (UCD)