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UCD AFC season preview 2017

Tonight will see the start to competitive action for the 2017 Season as we host Drogheda United in the Leinster Senior Cup. Kick off in the UCD Bowl is 7.45pm. Ahead of the new season, Collie O’Neill is looking to develop the next generation of UCD players and has added a number of young players to his already talented squad.

“We have a good young squad here. We have added a number of young players to our first team set up, with Cian Kavanagh, Evan Osam, Ben Hanrahan and Yoyo Mahdy all signing ahead of the start of the new season. These players will add to an already talented squad and of course we have a number of players throughout the squad now who are very experienced in the League of Ireland despite their young age.”

Reaching the CUFL Premier Division Final

As always, Collie O’Neill’s preparation for the new season has been disrupted due to our involvement in the various Colleges and Universities Competitions. Diarmuid McNally’s side this week reached the CUFL Premier Division Final after a tense 4-2 victory on penalties, after Georgie Kelly had scored a late equaliser to send the game to extra-time. Collie is delighted with his side’s performances in the competition and believes that competitive games like these, and the Collingwood Cup to come next week give his side a big boost ahead of the season, whilst also knowing how important these competitions are to the club.

“Obviously it disrupts pre-season a bit as some players will miss certain sessions, however this season has been a little different to most and there is no substitute for competitive matches. Our squad this year is a lot younger than previous years, with eighteen of our first team squad now in the University on scholarship so most of them are playing in these matches week in week out. The intensity of the CUFL games is also a lot higher than most regular pre-season games, so this has allowed players to get up to the pace and match fitness quicker. These are extremely important games for the club, and it has also given a lot of players a chance to get competitive minutes under their belt which will definitely benefit them going into the season.”

Collie also recognises the prospect of players getting their hands on silverware so early in the season gives players a massive boost for the season ahead.

“It’s not often teams get the chance to lift silverware so early in the season, so the lads will be looking to dig deep over the next two weeks in the hope of coming away with some trophies. Playing in these competitions provide players with great memories and are a great platform for players to develop with most of our most successful players in recent years all winning Collingwood Cups, Harding Cups, and CUFL titles.”

The CUFL Premier Division Final against University College Cork will take place on the 28th February in Home Farm at 7pm. However, before then the Collingwood Cup starts on Tuesday as we face a difficult tie against Queen’s University Belfast in the Quarter Final in Maynooth. These teams consist of players from our first team, under 19s and our Leinster Senior League sides.”

New Signings

We are delighted to announce the signings of Cian Kavanagh, Evan Osam, Ben Hanrahan and Yousef “Yoyo” Mahdy ahead of the new season. Cian Kavanagh and Evan Osam have both signed from Shamrock Rovers, Ben Hanrahan has signed from Cabinteely FC, and Yousef “Yoyo” Mahdy has signed from Limerick FC.

Cian Kavanagh – previous club: Shamrock Rovers
Evan Osam – previous club: Shamrock Rovers
Ben Hanrahan – previous club: Cabinteely FC
Yousef “Yoyo” Mahdy – previous club: Limerick FC

A number of players have also signed for our first team from our League winning under 19s side, with Conor Kearns, Sean Byrne, Gareth Coughlan, Conor Crowley, and Simon Power all making the step up, whilst Evan Farrell, Neil Farrugia, Jack Ryan and Joe Manley have signed from our under 17s side.

Full Squad List:

Goalkeepers: Niall Corbet, Conor Kearns, Conor O’Donnell

Defenders: Sean Byrne, Josh Collins, Sean Coyne, Evan Farrell, Maxi Kouogun, Joe Manley, Liam Scales, Daniel Tobin

Midfielders: Conor Crowley, Neil Farrugia, Cian Kavanagh, Jason McClelland, Daire O’Connor, Gary O’Neill, Simon Power, Greg Sloggett, Jack Ryan

Forwards: Gareth Coughlan, Ben Hanrahan, Georgie Kelly, Robert Manley, Yousef “Yoyo” Mahdy

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