Tuesday 25 October 2016

Brave students out as Bratislava make class tell

UCD 1 S Bratislava 5 (1-6 on agg)

Ryan Swan, UCD, scores his side's first goal of the tie
Ryan Swan, UCD, scores his side's first goal of the tie

And so, the League of Ireland interest in Europe ends before the month of August for the third year on the trot.

It should be a talking point in the corridors of Abbotstown this morning, but the fear is that the trend will continue without urgent action.

UCD should feel no sense of disappointment, however. Of the five clubs sent into action, the students were saddled with the least expectation.

As a First Division side who qualified via Fair Play rules, fears were expressed that the students would embarrass. The opposite was the case.

It was the performance of some established Premier League outfit that should provoke introspection. St Pat's exited to a Skonto Riga side that was thrashed 9-2 yesterday; Cork conceded two goals while playing against 10-man KR Reykjavik to depart ignominiously.

UCD went down fighting, providing the sell-out crowd at Belfield with plenty of entertainment before the tank emptied and Slovan Bratislava scored three in the final minutes.

Big striker Robert Vittek broke the deadlock with a powerful header four minutes before the break.

Bratislava doubled their advantage after a mazy run from Marko Milinkovic.

Ryan Swan pulled one back for the home side, slotting away his third goal in four European outings.

But the visitors found another gear and capitalised on UCD fatigue with a Komel Miklos header and an injury time brace from Vittek to complete his hat-trick.

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