UCD started the new SSE Airtricity League First Division with a comeback 2-1 victory over Shelbourne at The UCD Bowl on Friday night. The visitors took the lead against the run of play, in the twenty-eighth minute, as James English headed home Dale
UCD started the new SSE Airtricity League First Division with a comeback 2-1 victory over Shelbourne at The UCD Bowl on Friday night.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play, in the twenty-eighth minute, as James English headed home Dale Rooney's cross.
The Students battled back however, and second-half goals from Greg Sloggett and Timmy Molloy earned them all three points.
College boss Collie O'Neill tells our reporter Peter Branigan that these are the battling qualities needed to mount a title challenge.
"I've just said to the players, that if you have aspirations to win the League, you need two ingredients.
"The first is talent, which we have in abundance.
"The second is character. In the past, it's a game we wouldn't have gotten anything out of, but the character has changed in this group. Tonight we grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, and saw it home in the second-half."
The half-time deficit was harsh on The Students, but O'Neill says it made his instructions at half-time that bit easier.
"There's often games where we come in, and we've been poor, but we've taken the lead against the run of play.
"Tonight was the opposite! So it was more a case of of telling them to continue to do what what we we're doing, be patient, keep stretching them, stick to what we're good at, and the chances will come. And that's what we did."
The Students won the Collingwood Cup at the start of the month, and O'Neill says it stood to them at Belfield on Friday night.
"It gave the lads three days away together, so it built a bond between the group. We came from behind in some of those games, and that has given us great belief.
"The Collingwood Cup was definitely beneficial to us this year."
The First Division promises to be ultra competitive this season, with ten teams competing for promotion and play-off places. O'Neill is aware of the pitfalls of the League.
"Everybody is capable of beating everybody. It's not like last year with Waterford, and I don't think anyone will be able to go on a run like they one they want on last season.
"So as good as we were tonight, we could go and get beaten at Ferrycarrig Park next week. There are no guarantees this season."