Cherrie pulled off a string of superb saves during the 90 minutes with Liam Burns outstanding in the centre of defence after Gary Breen was shown the red card in the 46th minute.
But the major consolation for College was that after Sporting Fingal’s 3-1 victory over Galway United at Morton Stadium, Martin Russell’s team are still guaranteed their place in the Premier Division next season.
Against the run of play, Dundalk opened the scoring on the half hour. Stephen Maher burst down the right to cross to unmarked striker Fahrudin Kudozovic who tapped the ball home at the far post.
But Dundalk suffered a major set-back a minute into added time of the first half when Cork referee Anthony Buttimer showed the red card to central defender Breen for an alleged elbow on Greg Bolger.
After Cherries saved a penalty, Johnny Breen had Dundalk further in front on 85 minutes.
UCD: Brennan; Shortall, Leahy, E. McMillan, Nangle; Mulhall, Bolger, Corry, Ward (Moore 75); D.McMillan (Wilson 67) , Kilduff.
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Madden, G Breen, Burns, Kelly; Kearns (Maher 29), Bennett, Miller, Gaynor; Kudozovic (McGuigan 82), Tipton (J.Breen 65).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)