Battle of Bandon
In a match that just about had everything you could ask for it was gutting to see UCC come out the wrong side of a 4-3 scoreline. UCC playing Bandon for the second time in 7 days upped their game immensely from the previous encounter and were in control of the match for huge chunks, sadly not quite capitalising in the final third.
Bandon however were the first to strike when a good through ball found a Bandon forward running into the circle on the left hand side. Stephen Scanlan reacted quickly and looked to have every angle covered only to see the reverse stick shot find the only 3inches of the goal where the ball could possibly have gone. A good finish but UCC refused to let it get to them early on. Just moments later Darren Wilkinson who had made a determined arching run from outside the circle on the left, across the goal got a miraculous touch to a crash ball. The slightest of touches redirected the ball to the far side of the goal in what was one of the best goals from a UCC player this season.
UCC piled on the pressure but a counter attack from Bandon resulted in a good team goal where another Bandon forward got on the end of a cross and tapped the ball home from close range. Again UCC pushed on and won a short corner just moments later, Colin Kingston playing against his former club slotted a drag flick down low to equalise once more. As half time loomed Sam Grace put UCC ahead for the first time in the match getting on the end of a slick short corner routine.
The second half was a more even affair with both teams getting periods of possession but Bandon scored the only goals of the second half in a quick 5 minute time frame. Both coming from good drag flicks in the bottom left of the goal from marginal decisions on the short corners.
After this UCC had no option but to go all guns blazing and both Glenn Healy and Sam were unfortunate to not get the all important equalising goal. With less than 4 minutes left in the match UCC removed their goalkeeper in favour of 11 outfielders which left them vulnerable on the counter but the decision nearly worked out on the stroke of the full time whistle. A short corner to end the match took a heavy touch from the goalkeeper but looked like it could trickle in when a Bandon defender did well to clear the danger.
The match finished 4-3 and although UCC deserved more from the match at the end of the day the only statistics that matter is goals scored. It was however a vastly improved performance and something that will give encouragement to UCC heading into the next game this Friday again against Bandon.
Man of the match: Andrew McGregor