McConnell helps Welly net crucial win over UUJ

Action from the Wellington Rec and UUJ game at Brookvale Park. INLT 46-020-PSB
Action from the Wellington Rec and UUJ game at Brookvale Park. INLT 46-020-PSB
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What a start for new boss Graham McConnell, as he took charge of his first match as Welly Rec boss, landing a 2-1 win over a strong UUJ side.

McConnell said: “It’s nice to get the win. There’s a long long way to go, but it’s a start, and it gets us off the bottom, which psychologically is good. What really pleased me was the way the heads didn’t go down, after going behind early on, and they showed their character the way they had to dig in, playing the entire second half with only 10 men.”

It was UUJ, however, who had first strike, with a superbly crafted goal on eight minutes; Pat Scollay threading the ball for Anto Stuart who got to the byeline before dinking it over for Kevin O’Neill to head in from close range.

Wellington were back in tandem on 16 minutes; an opportunist strike from Paul McCann, high into the top corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

McCann grabbed number two a minute before the break, cracking in a free-kick past the possibly unsighted Eamonn Browne.

Wellington surely needed some sort of advantage to take into the second half, but their joy was tempered by Zak McAllister being shown a straight red in stoppage time, kicking out at Lawrence Lyons just as the referee was about to jot down the name of the UUJ man for the original foul.

In second half, as expected, Wellington had to batten down the hatches as Darragh Teague’s side piled on the pressure.

Rec kept their shape with two solid banks of four and their only other nervy moments were when substitute Andy Magee turned the ball onto his own post, and UUJ’s Ciaran McMullan swerved one marginally wide of the left hand upright.

Wellington Rec: Rice – Moore, Cahoon, McConnell (Magee), Withers – P McCann (Hughes), Todd, Mulvenna, Nelson, Z McAllister – Burns (Dunkley)

UUJ: Browne – McBriarty (Liggett), Ferguson, Campbell, T McCann (McKeown) – Lyons, McCart, Crossan (McMullan) – Scollay, K O’Neill, Stuart.