League Preview: UCD -v- Finn Harps

Willie O'Connor has enjoyed a solid start to life as UCD manager

Willie O'Connor has enjoyed a solid start to life as UCD manager Credit: John Crothers (ETPhotos)


Second faces fourth at Belfield as UCD host Finn Harps in Dublin. With The Students only three points ahead of the Donegal side, this is a crucial game in both club’s push for promotion.

Having won four of their last six, since drawing with Harps’ in Ballybofey, UCD come into this one in good form.

Last week’s comeback win at Mounthawk Park, to overcome Kerry FC, was inspired by a first half double from Mikey McCullagh as they atoned for their previous loss to Cobh Ramblers.

They’ll be keen to get back to winning ways at home, despite three of their four league defeats coming at The Bowl.

UCD will be without Harry Curtis following his late red card, having come on as a substitute, in Tralee last time out.


Buoyed by two recent home wins, Finn Harps travel up having seemingly overcome a mini-wobble of three successive league defeats, which followed the home draw with ten-man UCD at Finn Park.

Captain, Tony McNamee has been in scintillating form with last week’s long-range stunner against Longford Town his fifth of the season already.

Encouragingly, the win over De Town also saw strikers, Max Johnston and Success Edogun get on the scoreboard with the latter’s winner expertly created by another young forward, Sean O’Donnell, who came on off the bench.

Having eased the scoring burden on McNamee, the next task for Harps’ coach, Darren Murphy will be to tighten up a defence that has only recorded one clean sheet in their last six matches. Against a free-scoring UCD, they face another stern examination.

Referee: Glen Geraghty.



Strikes from McNamee and Ciaran Behan ensured the spoils were split in the sides’ most recent meeting, a 1-1 draw in Ballybofey in early April.

Finn Harps last visited Belfield back in August 2022 when the sides met in the Premier Division. Donal Higgins and Evan Caffrey earned ten-man UCD the three points on that occasion despite Harps going ahead through a Filip Mihaljevic spot-kick.

In their last five encounters, Finn Harps are winless. Three have been won by UCD with the other two ending in draws.


UCD 2 - 1 Finn Harps.


Finn Harps

Injured: Max Hutchison, Kevin Jordan, Aaron McLaughlin.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.



Injured: None.

Doubtful: Eanna Clancy.

Suspended: Harry Curtis.