FAI Cup Preview: UCD -v- Pike Rovers

Fri, Aug 10 2018

Goalkeeper Gary Neville claims the ball during Pike Rovers' FAI Junior Cup final defeat to North End United earlier this year. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

UCD

UCD will look to get through a round of the FAI Cup for the first time in two years when they host Limerick District League Side Pike Rovers on Friday evening at the UCD Bowl (kick-off 7.45pm).

Now only a maximum of two wins away from the First Division title, Collie O’Neill’s Students know that they could wrap the First Division title as early as two weeks’ time.

However, the Students eyes will be firmly fixed upon a FAI Cup run this week when they host the FAI Junior Cup runners up Pike Rovers at the UCD Bowl.

UCD do in fact have FAI Cup-winning pedigree as they secured the 1983-84 instalment of the famous old cup competition.

After drawing the final at the first attempt, the Students won the replay at Dalymount Park against Shamrock Rovers 2-1.

That game all the way back in 1984 was their most recent appearance in the showpiece event of Irish football.

Last season saw Collie O’Neill’s side exit the competition in the first round following a bitterly disappointing South Dublin Derby defeat against Cabinteely at Stradbrook.

Darragh Corcoran must sit out the tie due to suspension. UCD have not released any further team news for their 2018 Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup bow.

PIKE ROVERS

Limerick District League Side Pike Rovers will hope to cause one of the most unlikely cup shocks of the year and topple the First Division league leaders UCD at the UCD Bowl on Friday evening.

Led by the experienced Mick Shiels, Pike play a League of Ireland side for the second time in three years.

Their last FAI Cup clash against a League of Ireland side went poorly for Pike as they fell to a crushing 8-0 defeat against St Patricks Athletic at Richmond Park in 2016.

The last time they came across a First Division side, they were on the receiving end of another hammering as they succumbed to a 4-0 defeat away to Longford Town in 2013.

This game will be Pike’s first competitive game of the season having finished up their season in May with a penalty shoot-out defeat to North End United in the FAI Junior Cup final.

During the 2017-18 Limerick and District League season, Pike came second in the league table, thirteen points behind league leaders Janesboro.

To qualify for the first round of the FAI Cup, Rovers had to overcome the challenge of Cork side Avondale United by two goals to nil.

Goals from Steve McGann and Cian Collins sent the Limerick side on their way to the first-round proper of the much-heralded cup competition.

During the off-season, Pike have significantly added to their ranks in former Athlone Town player Darragh Rainsford while Conor Kavanagh has also signed for Shiels’ side.

Stephen Keeley has also joined the club from fellow Limerick side Regional United. Pike have not released any further team news.

 

Referee: Alan Patchell.

 

MATCH STATS

Last season’s top league goalscorer for Pike Rovers was Steve McGann. The Limerick native scored 19 goals for Pike as they finished second in the Limerick and District League on 49 points.

Pike won their most recent friendly by a score line of three goals to one against Ayrfield United. UCD’s last win came last Friday night as they dismantled a spirited Cabinteely by four goals to one.

UCD are 43 years older than their FAI Cup counterparts. UCD AFC were founded all the way back in 1895 while Pike were established in 1938.

UCD have picked up a mightily impressive 2.2 points per game so far this season as they have only fallen to one home defeat all year.

The Students have also scored 2.2 goals per game this year while only conceding 24 goals.

While having the best attacking record in the First Division, they only have the 4th best defence in the Division behind Shelbourne, Finn Harps and Drogheda United.

 

BETTING

UCD 1/7; Draw 5/1; Pike Rovers 11/1.

PREDICTION

UCD 3 – 0 Pike Rovers

 

UCD

Injured: Unknown.

Doubtful: Unknown.

Suspended: Darragh Corcoran.

Pike Rovers

Injured: Unknown.

Doubtful: Unknown.

Suspended: None.

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