Unbeaten Run Continues
This weekend’s firsts match saw UCC take on Cork Harlequins in the second away match of the season. Despite winning the previous weekend the general feeling throughout the week was that the performance had to improve this time around. Unfortunately UCC were without last weeks match winner, Glenn ‘goals’ Healy, due to a coal related injury that left him with a strained back and Dan Moore who was in America.
UCC, as they have done for much of the season, started brightly and got great joy from some intricate passing that saw them break quickly down both sidelines. Their effort off the ball was just as impressive as they pressed hard against an organised Harlequins backline, constantly winning the ball in dangerous areas.
The first major attack of the game saw the ball moved proficiently between the UCC defenders and midfielders before releasing Sam Grace down the right hand flank. Sam powered his way down the pitch and crashed the ball into the circle where Andrew Scannell got enough of a deflection on it to bounce it towards Eoin Finnegan. Finnegan made no mistake with the finish as he made a solid connection on the half volley to slot his effort past the Harlequins goalkeeper.
The second goal came along quite quickly after the first however this time it was Shrew Power who made the clever run into the circle to direct the ball towards Stephen Jermyn. Stephen, playing against his old side for the first time, still had it all to do as the ball was lifting towards him. His improvised reverse stick, through the legs, backwards shot somehow managed to find the bottom corner. Despite his audacious effort he respectfully walked back to the UCC half, refusing to celebrate against his old team-mates.
From there the match tamed down to some degree, UCC stayed on top without getting many chances due to Harlequins deep press that allowed UCC long periods of possession but very few gaps. Harlequins to their credit countered well at every opportunity and could easily have scored when the ball flashed past the UCC goal and somehow nobody could quite get a touch to it. The first half ended 2-0 with UCC firmly in the driver seat.
The second half was similar to the first, UCC dominating territory and possession yet not quite able to further their lead. Harlequins did win three second half short corners that were well dealt with as Andrew McGregor proved he was still one of the quickest in the club charging down two of the opposition drag flicks. Steven Scanlan was in flying form, determined to re-claim the number one jersey, and expertly palmed away whatever shots Harlequins were able to get away.
All in all it was a much improved performance from the side and they will be content for at least the next week as they sit atop the league table, undefeated.
Man of the match: Andrew McGregor.
A special mention must also go to the seconds as they too remain unbeaten with a comprehensive 7 nil demolition of Limerick. Barry Cronin, birthday boy and captain, led the way with three goals to his name.