With two wins in four days, UCD’s men showed few ill-effects of their relegation to Leinster Division One, marking themselves out as one to watch this season.
They opened up with a 4-1 win over Clontarf last Saturday, taking an initial half-time 1-0 lead before getting pegged back by Sean Cassidy. Andrew Meates restored the advantage before they closed out the tie stronger for a healthy win.The Belfielders went one better on Tuesday evening when fresher John Guilfoyle added a hat trick, making it four in two games, as they beat Rathgar 5-1 – Meates and Andy Keane both getting their second of the week.
New coach Rudi Wortmann said there are still plenty of kinks to iron out in their game plan but, for a student side, it has been a particularly up tempo start.
“We are a good team going forward with a lot of pace and our movement is good up front,” he said after the Rathgar match. “We do need to improve a few things defensively, not so much the back line, but as a whole team.
“If we can move that up every 5%, we will be alright half way through the season. For a college team, to start with six points is always good. The lads are hungry; they are still young but its up to them now to keep improving.”
Game three sees them go to Avoca on Saturday, making the short trip without David Nolan who is at his brother’s stag weekend in Barcelona.
As for the Chiefs, they will host Clontarf next Saturday. Reflecting on the meeting with a club he previously coached, Rory O’Donoghue said: “UCD played quite well, took their opportunities and are a strong side coming down from the EY league.
“We are not quite where we would like to be at the moment but there was positives from us in the second half. From talking to the lads, taking chances is an area which was a problem from before and we are working on it. We will play some [attacking] hockey which is what the lads want to do and we will be sharper.”
They had begun their campaign with a 4-2 win over Weston four days earlier. Avoca were another side with an opening day win, edging out Trinity with Johnny McCormack grabbing a last-ditch deflection to win the day after he and Wilf King had traded earlier blows.
Dublin North got off the mark with a pair each from Eamonn Bane and Ryan West in a 4-1 win over Kilkenny.
Corinthian’s opening date with YMCA was postponed due to a bereavement and so the Whitechurch Park side started their campaign on Tuesday when David Howard and Jack Perdue scored in a 2-0 win over Avoca.
Next for the reds is a trip to Kilkenny while YM host Trinity and Weston face Dublin North.
Men’s Leinster Division 1
Saturday: Dublin North 4 (E Bane 2, R West 2) Kilkenny 1 (D Coffey); UCD 4 (J Guilfoyle, D Nolan, A Meates, A Keane) Clontarf 1 (S Cassidy); Avoca 2 (J McCormack 2) Trinity 1 (W King); Weston 2 (K Bell 2) Rathgar 4 (S Gould, A Malcolm, J Willoughby, S Ludgate); Corinthian v YMCA – postponed
Tuesday: Corinthian 2 (J Perdue, D Howard) Avoca 0; Rathgar 1 (D Stead) UCD 5 (J Guilfoyle 3, A Keane, A Meates)
Saturday: UCD v Avoca, 11.15am, Belfield; Weston v Dublin North, 12pm, Griffeen Valley Park; Rathgar v Clontarf, 12.30pm, High School; Kilkenny v Corinthian, 2pm, Kilkenny College; YMCA v Dublin University, 2pm, Wesley College
Sunday: Clontarf v Dublin University, 2pm, Mount Temple