UCD 0 Rovers 0
******* Eircom League Premier Division *******
The long awaited return of the Hoops to the Premier League was greeted by a large and enthusiastic crowd in Belfield tonight. The game took a while to get going but Barry Murphy was on his toes early to make a fine catch in the 5th minute. Maher almost put Rowe in on goal on 13 minutes and Myler made a good defensive header in the 15th.
The first real chance came in the23rd minute when a short back pass saw Rowe latch on to the ball but his shot was blocked by the advancing 'keeper. The 'keeper was in trouble from the resultant corner but the ball fell to a defender and was cleared. Rowe was quick to spot Myler at the edge of the UCD box on 26 minutes but Myler hesitated and the shooting chance was lost.
A good move in the 38th minute saw Dave O'Connor race by two defenders and he found Rowe in the box who then curled his shot off the cross-bar and Maher followed up to fire the ball in to the net. However the linesman had already flagged for offside against Rowe. Murphy made a save at his near post a minute later before a good turn and shot from Rowe was blocked in front of goal by a UCD defender. Rovers had a golden opportunity to score in the 44th minute when the 'keeper mis-hit his clearance to Myler but the Hoops number nine hit a weak shot that the 'keeper was able to block with his leg.
Rovers never made the same impact in the second half and UCD came more into the game. Dave O'Connor blasted a shot over the bar in the 61st minute but the Hoops had a real scare in the 67th minute when a free-kick from 25 yards went inches wide. Robbie Clarke had two shots blocked in the 70th minute before a free-kick went dangerously across the Hoops six-yard box in the 75th minute. A scramble in the box from the resultant corner saw the ball heading for the net but Murphy got back to palm away a certain goal.
The Hoops had two late dead ball chances to score but the first, a corner, was well taken by the UCD 'keeper and the second, a free-kick, was wasted.