UCD overcame the loss of key marksman Con O’Callaghan as they edged UUJ by two points after extra-time in their Sigerson Cup first-round clash at Billings Park, Belfield.
O’Callaghan’s shoulder injury in the warm-up deprived the hosts of their attacking talisman but they will derive huge encouragement from a battling performance that yielded a deserved quarter-final spot.
A tight, tense encounter was anticipated in advance and the protagonists didn’t disappoint in a shot-shy first half in which scores proved at a premium.
The visitors looked in greater control initially with a brace of Lee Brennan frees handing them a narrow lead and they pushed two points clear by the end of the first quarter after an excellent Rian Jones score.
However, that proved their final score of the half as they struggled to create scoring chances and a brace of excellent points by Barry Dan O’Sullivan ensured the sides entered the break deadlocked at 0-4 apiece.
The hosts looked more assured the longer the game evolved with Mike Breen excelling at full-back they regained the lead through a 34th-minute free from Gary Walsh.
UUJ replied in kind through Michael McKernan and looked well served to progress as they added further scores through Brennan and Daire Gallagher to restore their two-point advantage with ten minutes remaining.
Far from looking to kill off the game, the visitors retreated far too deep and were punished for that decision as UCD finished the game on the front foot with points by Walsh and Luke Fortune forcing extra-time on a 0-7 apiece scoreline.
That momentum was maintained for extra-time as UCD seized control of affairs thanks to two points apiece by the impressive Ray Connellan and lively substitute Fiachra Clifford.
Another substitute, Jordanstown’s David Mulgrew, kicked over two points of his own in the second period but a late Walsh free was the buffer that UCD required to eke out a narrow but ultimately deserved success.
Scorers for UCD: G Walsh (0-5 (4 frees); B O’Sullivan, R Connellan, F Clifford (0-2 each); L Fortune, C Hartley (0-1 each).
Scorers for UUJ: L Brennan (0-3 frees); D Mulgrew (0-2); M Gallagher, M McKernan, D Gallagher, T Galligan, R Jones, D Kerr (0-1 each).
UCD: G O’Rourke; C O’Shea, M Breen, M O’Connor; L Flatman, R O’Toole, K Kennedy; R Connellan, B O’Sullivan; L Fortune, S Coen, S Egan; C Hartley, B McGinn, G Walsh.
Subs: E Harkin for Egan (half-time), A Connor for Flatman (43), F Clifford for Kennedy (43), R McCormack for Hartley (48), C Moriarty for McGinn (58), A Mohan for Fortune (79), D Silke for Moriarty (79).
UUJ: O Lynch; E Murray, M McKernan, P McGrogan; R Jones, T O’Brien, D Gallagher; T Galligan, B Kennedy; C Quinn, J Harkin, C Devlin; L Brennan, D Kerr, D Jones.
Subs: D Mulgrew for Jones (42), M Gallagher for McKernan (45), R Gormley for Kennedy (61), D McEnhill for Harkin (70).
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).