UCD are looking for a new manager after parting ways with Collie O'Neill.

O'Neill led the Students to the First Division title last year playing an open, attractive brand of fotball that won them many admirers.

Over the lats 12 months the likes of Georgie Kelly, Daire O'Connor, Greg Sloggett, Gary O'Neill, Conor Davis and Neil Farrugia have all departed, an exodus of talent that's badly affected the Dublin outfit.

Last Friday night's 10-1 defeat to Bohs was a desperate low, coming as it did quite soon afetr a 7-0 hammering at the hands of Shamrock Rovers. UCD are bottom of the table, six points adrift of Finn Harps, and have won just five times in 28 league games. 

So where do they go from here? 

In the hours before O'Neill's dismissal was announced, the RTÉ Soccer podcast discussed their predicament.

"I played a European match with Dundalk out in Bulgaria against Levski Sofia," said Alan Cawley, empathising with the UCD players who had to endure that mauling at Dalymount Park.

"I remember turning to Neale Fenn after 30 seconds of the match, they'd won a corner. It was roasting. I said to Fenney, 'this is going to be a long night'. It was 6-0 and this is no exaggeration, had they beaten us 22-0 that night, we'd have had no complaints. They absolutely battered us. 

"I've watched a lot of UCD. The one thing I always take away, every single time I've gone to watch them, is how open and naive they are. They're always the same. 

"I know they're young players... but at 2-0 at half-time (against Bohs), once it hits three, four, five, surely at some point you say, 'look let's limit the damage here and shut up shop'. 

"They got beat by seven up in Tallaght. Surely at that point Collie went in and said, 'look lads we're never going to get beat 7-0 again'."

UCD are unique in the League of Ireland. Their team is made up of players on a scholarship at the university, and though they have an excellent tradition of nurturing talent, it's a system that comes with drawbacks.

Is it time to change the approach?

"I remember Collie was in with us after they got promoted and he said he did try bringing in three or four lads from the outside and that system didn't work, and that he was going to go with the lads who got them into the division," added Cawley.

"We thought, 'brilliant, that's so admirable'. But at what point, when you've lost 21 games out of 28, do you say to yourself, 'okay this is not working, we can't go gung-ho every match'."

Johnny McDonnell agreed that the side badly needs to tighten up but he highlighted the drain of talent O'Neill has had to contend with, and backed them to come good again in time. 

"They only know one way to play and that's to attack," the former St Pat's, Shels and Drogheda United manager said.

"That group as been together for the last four or five years. They're nearly all graduating. They have lost all them players, and I just think they're going through that transition now. It might take them another year or two to get going again."

Listen to the full RTÉ Soccer Podcast discussion below.

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