UCD season preview: Consolidation is key for Students

Following on from last season, Belfield's best will be looking only to improve with a squad that has the potential to surprise once more, but they face a tough season

Dinny Corcoran
Robbie Benson
Hugh Douglas
By Oisín Gregorian

Tipped to be involved in a relegation scrap last season, UCD surprised a few in not only finishing 9th, but also a solid 11 points clear of bottom-of-the-table Dundalk.

Continuity from one season to the next is often attributed to success in football. In recent years, UCD have struggled to retain much of their young roster, with the allure of playing further up the league proving too hard to resist for some of the club's top talents.

For 2013 however, The Students have managed to do the complete opposite this time around. With seven players, including four home-grown talents, all re-signing for the upcoming season, along with the additions of Gareth Matthews, Craig Walsh and Daniel Corcoran from Shelbourne, Longford and Bohemians respectively, UCD can now boast a much improved blend of youth and experience as opposed to seasons gone by.

Continuity within the squad on the pitch is complemented by a backroom staff off it, who all return for the season ahead. For Coach Martin Russell, who is now in his fourth season at the helm, finishing higher than last year whilst consolidating their position in the Premier Division will be a tough, yet achievable challenge.

And if the club can produce more performances like their victory over eventual champions Sligo Rovers last season, this particular challenge could well be within their grasp.