JOE's Airtricity League Preview: UCD
How will the men from Belfield do this year? Here's our preview.
Colours: Home - Sky Blue and Navy, Away - All White
Manager: Aaron Callaghan
Nickname: The Students
2014 odds: 300/1
It's been a big off-season for the Students. Their manager of the last few seasons, Martin Russell, vacated the hotseat to take up the assistant manager's role at champions St Patrick's Athletic. He's been replaced by former Bohs boss, Aaron Callaghan (pic below).
The primary aim every season is survival. UCD are never going to challenge for the title, but over the years, they've had a say in who does win it. UCD are always capable of shock results and Belfield can be a very difficult place to go to for away teams. Aaron Callaghan will be keen to show what he can do after a difficult spell at Bohs. People in the game recognise that he is a very good coach and the chance to work with new young talent could be a marriage made in heaven for him.
There has been the usual upheaval with regards players leaving and signing. Another fresh batch of talented youngsters will come through on the UCD conveyor belt. They are written off every season as relegation fodder, but they always seem to defy the odds.
They may not have the big names or the big crowds, but UCD have always tried to play football the right way. The obvious temptation for a side packed with youngsters and inexperience would be to lump it forward and be physical, but they have a good philosophy out in Belfield and it's a credit to the club that they keep it on the deck.
Their captain Mick Leahy (pic below) has departed for Limerick FC and he will be missed as will midfielder Craig Walsh who signed for Bohs. As stated earlier, however, this happens every season and yet they always seem to find a way to survive. I think this season will be no different and expect the Students to avoid relegation and take some notable scalps along the way.
Players in: Too many to mention!
Did You Know?: Father Ted legend, Dermot Morgan was a fan of the UCD football team. When asked why he attended the UCD games, he famously quipped, 'Because I hate crowds'.
Hopes: UCD will be looking to avoid relegation, nothing else matters. They will achieve that too
Player To Watch: Gary Burke
If they were a big European club: Young Boys of Berne - eh...well...they're students and students are mostly young.....and some come from Berne..or something.