Students snatch all three points in spectacular fashion as Hanrahan hits a top class effort worthy of winning any game
The home side, looking to avenge a heavy defeat by the students at the start of March, made 10 changes to the side that were defeated last time out in the cup with only Chris Lyons retaining his place.
And it was the hosts who started much the better. The opening chance of the game fell to star striker James English, after the pacey front man made a strange decision to square the ball after being put through clear down the left channel. English elected to try a difficult pass to Chris Lyons who was racing in from the edge of the box instead of taking the chance on himself. Incredibly, was just one of four clear cut efforts on goal in the opening 10 minutes.
The students, who showed great character coming from 2-0 down last time out against Cabinteely, began to get a foot hold in the game with Gregg Sloggett beginning to pull the strings. But his side’s endeavor didn’t last too long with Shels peppering Niall Corbett’s goal from all angles, doing absolutely everything but score. Lyons missed a massive guilt edged chance being played through by James O’Brien. The attacking midfielder tried to lob the onrushing keeper but Corbett stood big to block his tame effort, somehow keeping his side in the game.
The second half started at the same rip roaring pace with Shels dynamic duo English and Lyons causing havoc for the UCD defence and both players had yet more glorious chances to put their side ahead. After a clever one two around the box, English drilled his shot straight at the keeper from 10 yards out, followed almost instantly by Lyons low drilled shot across goal that was well turned away by Niall Corbett.
A miraculous goal line clearance from Evan Osam stopped Lyons from getting his deserved goal. A clever switch to 3-5-2 by gaffer Collie O’Brien, saw UCD push substitute Hanrahan up alongside top scorer George Kelly and the tactical switch paid dividends almost immediately.
Unbelievably, and against the run of play, the visitors snatched the lead with six minutes remaining. The goal that silenced all in attendance came from an incredible route one effort, when man of the match Corbett pumped a long hopeful punt up field and substitute Ben Hanrahan hit a spectacular volley first time with the right foot catching Dean Delaney off guard at the near post.
The Students held firm to close the gap at the top to just one point now following Waterford United’s 0-0 draw away at Cabinteely in an extremely tight SSE Airtricity First Division. But Shelbourne will definitely play worse this season and pick up maximum points and can put this down to a freak night in front of goal.
Shelbourne FC: 1. Dean Delaney, 2. Adam O’Connor, 3. Reece McEnteer, 4. Aidan Collins, 7. Adam Evans, 20. Derek Prendergast, 6. Mark Hughes, 18. Dayle Rooney, 9. James English, 10. Chris Lyons, 12. James O’Brien
Subs: 23. Jamie Quinn, 5. Jack Tuite, 13. Lorcan Shannon, 16. David O’Leary, 8. Niall Lanigan, 14. Aaron Ashe, 22. Jackson Ryan
UCD: 1. Niall Corbett, 2. Dan Tobin, 3. Evan Osam, 4. Liam Scales, 5. Maxin Kouguan, 6. Gregg Sluggett, 7. Daire O’Connor, 8. Gary O’Neill, 9. Georgie Kelly, 10. Cian Kavanagh, 11. Jason McClelland
Subs: 16. Conor Kearns, 12. Josh Collins, 13. Sean Coyne, 14. Conor Crowley, 15. Gareth Coughlan, 17. Ben Hanrahan, 18. Robert Manley
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea