LSL Senior Sunday
Right place right time merchant Gareth Cooney got his timing spot on again on Wednesday night.
The midfielder, who top scored when Bluebell ended their league title drought two seasons ago, hasn’t been as prolific this term, but scored two crucial efforts as Bluebell defeated UCD to maintain their advantage in another tight Senior Sunday championships tussle.
In keeping with the perfect timing theme the player, who resigned from St Mochtas in the close season, twice hit the back of the net in and around that ‘perfect time to score’ mark.
Cooney’s pre half time quick fire brace enabled the hosts to play within themselves after the turn and after a relatively high octane first half they ruthlessly managed the second period to bank the three points.
As a result Andy Noonan’s charges are now three points clear at the top going into the final two games. Indeed, the Champions could win the title with victory against St Mochtas this coming Sunday.
UCD came to the Red Cow desperate for points as they bid to survive the drop and they certainly appeared up for the challenge and matched Bluebell’s high tempo early on.
After United had two early chances, Shane Stricth with a volley well saved and Tony Griffith’s just flicking his header over from the resulting corner,UCD started to play their part in an entertaining first half.
It was effectively end to end stuff, but Bluebell looked the more assured at both ends. Jordan Keegan looked creative in the attacking third, proving once again when fit he could be a standout player in the division, while Glen Walsh particularly impressed beside organiser Dean Lawerence at the back.
As a result the sides seemed to have equal possession, but Bluebell had the better chances. Andy McNulty did had to be out smart to save on 11 minutes, but within seconds Keegan benefited from a clever Keith Quinn swiveled and volleyed against the apex.
After a number of Bluebell half chances Colm Feeney set off on a brilliant run before flashing wide and fired over from range soon after as UCD showed they were still in contention.
The UCD fans readied themselves to jump of the seats Bluebell got as part of the deal which saw Izzy Akinade move to Bohemians when the combative Conor Cannon won the ball high and played in his striker partner, but the front man sliced wide and wasted his sides best chance.
It wasn’t long before the hosts punished the relegation battlers for the miss and took the lead.
Right full Sean Gleeson wanted the ball more when it broke in the middle of the park and won a 50/50 challenge against a much bigger foe before searching for the head of Shane Strich from half way. The ever willing striker flicked into the danger zone and ball was only half cleared enabling Cooney to pounce on 39 minutes.
A brilliant save at the back post denied Cooney a second seconds later after Stritch sent a ball across the area, but the attacking midfielder showed his ability to find space and finish from the resulting corner. Lawerence headed a deep set piece back into the area and Cooney diverted home.
‘See it out till half time’ was the shout from the home leaders and see it out till full time just may have been the instruction during the half time team talk.
Bluebell had two early chances in the opening minutes of the second with Quinn flashing wide from range after some neat work from Griffiths before Stritch was denied after muscling his way in one on one.
However, after that the league leaders looked content to see the game out. They set up solid and never looked like conceding and with Quinn finding his passing range looked a danger on the break.
The second half as a result wasn’t as open as the first both sides had half chances, UCD via Cannon and Sami Belhout and Bluebell via Scully and Stritch but neither keeper was really tested. Bluebell managed the game with relative ease and stayed in title pole as a result.