Pike Rovers' Eoin Hanrahan in action against Daniel Tobin, of UCD, in their FAI Cup first round tie at Belfield on Friday night
LIMERICK junior side Pike Rovers provided a stiff test for SSE Airtricity League First Division leaders UCD before succumbing 2-0 to the students in their Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup first round tie at Belfield Bowl on Friday night.
Spirited Pike, who are still in pre-season as their local junior campaign does not begin until next Wednesday night, remained very much in this Cup tie when trailing by a single goal with less than five minutes remaining.
However, a well-taken second UCD goal from Conor Davis, to go with Timmy Molloy’s 24th minute effort, ensured that the 1/10 shots with the bookies advanced to the next round.
Beaten FAI Junior Cup finalists Pike open their LDMC Premier Division campaign for 2018-2019 with a game against Geraldines on Wednesday night.
Goals from Stephen McGann and Cian Collins helped Pike set up their 2018 FAI Cup first round meeting with UCD as they defeated Munster Senior League side Avondale United at Dale Park last April.
UCD are currently seven points clear of Finn Harps in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
First Division leaders UCD went in front on the 24th minute. Conor Davis showed good pace to work the space, but he scuffed his effort across goal. The ball fell nice for Timmy Molloy, but after his first effort was blocked, he poked the second one home.
Pike had made a lively start. In the ninth minute, Eoin Hanrahan got his head on a corner, but he couldn’t keep the effort on target. A quick-fire second corner for the visitors was then claimed by Conor Kearns.
Shortly before UCD took the lead, the influential Stephen McGann made an impressive run down the right, before cutting back and putting in a delightful cross. The ball was allowed to bounce in the students defence. However, no attacking player could make contact, and Josh Collins cleared the danger.
UCD maintained their 1-0 lead until half-time against stubborn opponents, The students could have doubled their advantage mid-way through the second half, but Pike ‘keeper Neville did superbly to deny McCelland with a terrific save from a well struck volley.
UCD wrapped up the win four minutes from full-time when Conor Davis grabbed a precious second goal for the students after skipping past three defenders before chipping the ball neatly past Neville.
UCD: Conor Kearns, Dan Tobin, Evan Osam, Maxi Kouogun, Josh Collins, Greg Sloggett (Paul Doyle 80), Gary O'Neill, Timmy Molloy (Yoyo Mahdy 71), Jason McClelland, Neil Farrugia (Sean McDonald 90), Conor Davis.
PIKE ROVERS: Gary Neville, Wayne O’Donovan (Stephen Keeley 55), Paddy O’Malley (Jonathan Hannafin 65), Edward O’Donovan, Adam Lipper, Eoin Hanrahan, Darragh Rainsford, Conor Kavanagh, Stephen McGann, Colin Daly, Shane Walsh.
REFEREE: Alan Patchell