WATERFORD United brought an end to a three match run when they played out a scoreless draw with title chasing UCD at the RSC on Friday night last.
It was the first time the Blues kept a clean sheet since the middle of last season but there was a rather bitter sweet outcome with this result as the point gained was not enough to keep them off the bottom of the league table.
After a number of disappointing performances on the road this was a massive boost for the Blues ahead of the mid-season break as they battled hard in front of a home support that will take some positives from this clash.
Willie John Kiely had a chance to give the home side the lead on 27 minutes when he got on the end of a long free kick from the halfway line from Patrick Fitzgerald but his backward header from ten yards whistled inches over the crossbar.
Kiely went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock less than four minutes later when Dean Reidy picked out Ethan Boyle with a throw out on the right side and when his cross found the attacker on the penalty spot, his right-footed shot was just wide of the near post.
UCD central defender Thomas Boyle forced Blues goalkeeper Robert Birdsall into a fine save five minutes before the sound of the half time whistle when he got his header on the end of a Chris Mulhall delivery from the right but the netminder did well to keep the ball out.
The woodwork denied the impressive Blues the lead goal on the stroke of the half time whistle when a neat touch from Aaron O’Connor set up Willie John Kiely on the right side of the penalty area but his well struck right-footed shot struck the outside of the near post. UCD started the second half on the front foot and should have taken the lead on 50 minutes when Chris Mulhall got free out on the left-wing before putting the ball onto the head of Ryan Swan at the front post but his header went inches wide of the target. Blues defender Patrick Fitzgerald came to his sides rescue two minutes later when he threw his body on the line to block a goalbound effort from Robbie Benson. Shaun Corcoran went close to scoring a spectacular goal on 68 minutes when he let fly with a left-footed shot but the ball flew inches over before Robbie Benson fired into the sidenetting of Robert Birdsall goal at the other end five minutes later.
With the Blues losing three games on the road, it came no real surprise that they were happy to settle for a share of the spoils against a UCD side that are in the promotion hunt but certainly boss Collins will take positives from this game ahead of the final two series of games which will get underway at home to Athlone Town on Friday, June 26th.
WATERFORD UNITED: Robert Birdsall,
Dean Reidy, Patrick Fitzgerald, Shane Dineen
(Dylan Mernagh `71), Shaun Corcoran, Glen
Hawe, Ethan Boyle, Ross Fitzpatrick, Aaron
O’Connor,Mikie Rowe, Willie Kiely (Bobbi
Donoghue `57)
UCD: Niall Corbett, Mark Langtry, Ryan
McLaughlin, Michael Leahy, Thomas Boyle,
Jack Watson (Jamie Doyle `80), Gary O’Neill
(Conor Cannon `46), Robbie Benson, Dylan
Watts, Ryan Swan, Chris Mulhall.
REFEREE: David Keeler (Cork)

“You cannot fault their honesty, commitment and Integrity”. -Roddy Collins

Despite the fact that Waterford United remain rooted to the bottom of the league table manager Roddy Collins was pleased with the point gained at the RSC on Friday last.
The Blues have a paltry total of ten points from 14 games played and are two points adrift of Cabinteely who defeated Athlone Town 2-0 last weekend.
This was the fifth game in charge for Collins but he tried to look on the positive side of things. “I suppose we were celebrating a clean sheet in the dressing room but you don’t celebrate a clean sheet on your home patch but that’s the way things are. If we had a cutting edge we could have actually beaten them. We were impressive in the first half but they are only kids and good lads but the stamina is just not there and at the end of the day it was simply fatigue that got to them.
“We knew that UCD would come at us in the second half and that is exactly what happened and that’s why I took off big Shane (Dineen) because they identified something during the break and they played two up front and they played right on top of Shane and things were getting a little bit ropey so I put Dylan Mernagh on to try and make sure we kept a clean sheet. Our inexperience told in stoppage time when one of our players threw his leg over the ball three times in slow motion rather than getting the ball into the penalty area. You cannot put an old head on young shoulders but you cannot fault their honesty, their commitment and integrity. They cannot be faulted for their way they are representing the club” said Collins before talking about the remainder of the season.
“I’m not looking forward to the mid-term break to be honest because the system I am trying to implement here was beginning to work during the first half. We will be back training on Sunday week and ready to go again. At the moment I am not sure about bringing in new players because you have to look at the league table. We have to be realistic and there is no point throwing money down a pot hole. A couple of the players here could develop with another five or six or seven games”.