Despite finishing third in the league, UCD manager Collie O'Neill will probably look back on a campaign which promised so much more. After an impressive 2016 campaign where they were beaten by Drogheda United in the play-offs, hopes were raised of
Despite finishing third in the league, UCD manager Collie O'Neill will probably look back on a campaign which promised so much more.
After an impressive 2016 campaign where they were beaten by Drogheda United in the play-offs, hopes were raised of a title challenge. The season started strongly with the win of the campaign coming at Cabinteely in February. With most of their first-team squad sidelined due to Collingwood Cup commitments earlier in the week, an under-age side claimed an impressive 1-0 win thanks to Simon Power's strike.
Unfortunately, draws and defeats against Cobh Ramblers and Waterford saw the talented side slip out of the promotion race as they finished third, four points behind second-placed Cobh Ramblers.
The season ended on a really positive note though as their U19 side made their bow in the UEFA Youth League and were narrowly knocked out by Norwegian side Molde over two legs.
Star Player: Gary O'Neill
Despite suffering an injury during the campaign, Mr. UCD O'Neill would be a valuable asset for any SSE Airtricity League side. Classic box-to-box midfielder, O'Neill is a class act.
What they need for 2018
Progress the talent: UCD's U19 and U17 sides are up there with the very best in the country. The likes of Republic of Ireland U19 international Neil Farrugia and Simon Power need to get more game-time and the chance to shine. Striker Sean McDonald also impressed in the UEFA Youth League and U19 league last season so plenty of positives for UCD coming through the ranks.
Realistic Targets for 2018
Mid-table security: Difficult call. With the college season commitments as well as the SSE Airtricity League, rotation of the squad can diminish results. However, the talent is there and if they can pick up some early-season form and confidence, they could trouble the play-off picture.