Report: Ryan McMullen

A disappointing night for the Hoops as they struggled to break down UCD and were forced to settle for a point at Belfield.

The starting lineup saw 5 changes from the team that faced Derry City last week. Sean Hoare came into the side to replace Lee Grace along with Neil Farrugia, Trevor Clarke, Dylan Watts and Liam Burt who came in for Ronan Finn, Sean Kavanagh, Markus Poom and Richie Towell respectively.

Rovers had their first opportunity early on when midfielder Liam Burt played a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of Neil Farrugia who found himself in a one-on-one situation with UCD goalkeeper Kian Moore who made a crucial save to keep the score line level.

Despite dominating possession it was a slow start for the Hoops in terms of creating a goal threat, Farrugia’s early opportunity remained Rovers only clear-cut chance following the first half hour of play.

Approaching half-time, Rory Gaffney came close to finding an opener. Sean Hoare found the ball on the right-hand side of the box and after twisting and turning he crossed a lovely ball into Gaffney but his header went just over the frame of the goal.

The two teams were going in at the break level, after enjoying a lot of the ball in the first half Rovers couldn’t get the goal they were searching for.

The second half turned out to be fairly similar to the first, Rovers were attacking constantly but also struggling to break down the Student’s back line.

Aaron Greene was brought on to replace Dylan Watts 55 minutes in and not long after his introduction he had a chance for himself. Receiving the ball inside the box from Trevor Clarke on the left wing, the striker worked some space before firing into the side netting.

The Hoops pushed for a winner late on with some well-worked play high up the field although they were just unable to find that goal they were hoping for and had to settle for a draw in the end at the UCD Bowl.

Up next for Stephen Bradley and his side is a home tie against Shelbourne at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night (September 29th), kick off is at 7.45 pm.

UCD: Moore, Keaney ©, Behan, Keane, Curtis (Osam 61’), O’Brien, O’Regan, Doyle (Bishop 68’), Brennan, Verdon (Barr 81’), Clancy.

UCD unused substitutes: Healy, Raggett, Babb, Dempsey, Higgins, Norris.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, Hoare, Lopes ©, Cleary, Watts (Greene 56’), Burke, O’Neill, Clarke, Gaffney, Farrugia, Burt (Razi 85’).

Shamrock Rovers unused substitutes: Pohls, Gannon, Finn, Power, Nugent, Poom, Noonan.