College Football Association of Ireland

A dramatic end to an exciting Umbro CUFL season

24 February 2010

The quality and strength of the teams competing in the Colleges and Universities Premier League from the greater Dublin region is once again emphasised by the appearance of both UCD and DIT in this seasons' decider.

UCD have dominated this competition since it first began winning two of the past three titles. While surprisingly DIT are making a first ever appearance in the decider. Earlier in the season both sides played their opening series of league games in the same hugely competitive four team Premier Division East A along with Dublin University and College of Surgeons. At the finish after an exciting 1-1 draw at Grangegorman the Belfield side topped the table while DIT were pleased to secure the runners up spot after a late goal from an Eoin Kavanagh free gained them a valuable point in their opener against Trinity at College Park.

The play offs for quarter final places saw DIT easily account for DCU at Glasnevin with two goals from Stephen Roche and Tiernan Rossiter and Richie O'Farrell hitting one apiece. While UCD also made the last eight for the fourth successive season hitting six without reply past the 2008 finalists Colaiste Ide at Belfield. Then a Dave McMillen first half penalty against UCC at The Mardyke was enough to give them a semi final place for yet another season.

DIT hosted last season's beaten finalists Letterkenny IT in their quarter final tie and after a star performance from striker Stephen Roche who ironically plays his club football with UCD's League of Ireland side they got the better of the Donegal men. Eoin Kavanagh who saved a point for DIT at College Park earlier in the season with that late free was once again their hero in a 2-0 semi final win against Athlone IT. This time the Naas lad cooly stepped up to the penalty spot twice to beat Athlone ‘keeper TJ Forde with well placed efforts. A rampant UCD put six goals past Northern big guns UU Jordanstown in the other semi final at St Kevins Boys to bring their tally of goals scored so far to 31 with just two conceeded while DIT have netted 17 and also let in two.

So the stage is now set for what promises to be a close battle to decide this seasons' Premier League Champions. Both sides are peppered with players with vast experience in League of Ireland and Leinster Senior League football.

The last major meeting between these sides took place at Belfield in the 2007/8 season when a Ronan Finn header in the dying minutes of an epic playoff game kept UCD in the hunt after an earlier Ross Zambra goal looked to have DIT home and dried.

In the First Division Final Stephen Murphy’s Sallynoggin College will be looking for a better result in this year’s final  as they lost 3-1 last year to Colaiste Ide. Sallynoggin have some outstanding players and are well organised. Alan Lynch is a member of the Irish futsal squad and its worth watching this player in action. However Mary I will have a major say in this game as they are managed by Wexford Youths coach Noel O’Connor. O’Connor has helped his side to develop really well this season and they will be hoping to take a title back to Limerick before they head to next week’s Collingwood Cup in Derry.

In the Second Division Final Brendan Maguire’s Senior College Dun Laoighaire have been outstanding all season and are also still in the CFAI Bob Eustace Cup. Sean Tobin has been catching the eye for SCD. IT Blanchardstown's Jordan McMillan, Stephen Okapa and Markus Bailey have been outstanding in their progress to the final. All three are with League of Ireland clubs and have a bright future in the game.

Wednesday 24th February 2010

Premier Division Final: University College Dublin vs Dublin IT Kick Off: 19.30 Venue: Tolka Park

Second Division Final:Senior College Dun Laoghaire vs IT Blanchardstown 'B' Kick Off: 14.30 Venue: St Kevin’s Boys FC, Shanowen Road, Santry, Dublin 9

Thursday 25th February
First Division Final:
Sallynoggin College of FE vs Mary Immaculate College Kick Off: 19.30 Venue: Tullamore Town FC

Admission to all games is free.

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