Rovers had a scare on 14 minutes when after a bout of intricate passing in midfield, Paul Corry curled a shot which Alan Mannus did well to collect at his near post.
On the half-hour UCD’s impressive Sean Harding cut inside Billy Dennehy far too easily and unleashed a rising drive from 25 yards that narrowly cleared Mannus’s crossbar.
Suitably chastened, Rovers broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Dennehy’s corner reached Craig Sives and despite a fine reaction save by Barron, Gary Twigg showed his predatory instincts to finish to the net from four yards.
The Hoops almost handed their opponents an immediate way back into the game but Sives managed to divert Dean Marshall’s dangerous off his own post and away to safety.
Rovers doubled their advantage on 41 minutes when Twigg was in the optimum position to casually flick Ronan Finn’s delightful cross to the net from eight yards.
Within two minutes Dennehy was hauled down by UCD’s captain Michael Leahy with the red card brandished by Graham Kelly.
Rovers continued to dominate after the restart and it took just six minutes for them to add to their tally as Karl Sheppard found far too much space in the box to head home McCabe’s precise cross from six yards.
With McCabe enjoying the freedom of Dublin 4, Rovers continued to attack down their right-hand side and Twigg could have done better than hit the side-netting after strike-partner Sheppard had unselfishly crossed when well placed in the 63rd minute. There was a sense of inevitability to Rovers adding to their tally and the fourth goal duly arrived in the 77th minute when Dennehy shot home via a deflection off Harding.
Donal Branagan rubbed salt into the wounds when he headed home a Dennehy corner with three minutes remaining.
The goal of the game was reserved for UCD’s tireless Darren Meenan, who curled a sublime right-footed shot beyond Mannus from 25 yards for a consolation score of the highest quality.
But the scoring was concluded with the final kick of the game when Kilduff slotted home from close range after Barron had denied Sheppard to conclude a happy night for the Hoops as they stretched their lead at the top.
UCD: Barron; Harding, O’Connor, Leahy, Nangle; Marshall (Creevy, 68), O’Conor, Corry, Russell (Rusk, 46); Belhout (Doyle, 68), Meenan.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Sullivan, Sives, Murray, McCormack; McCabe, Turner (O’Donnell, 46), Finn (Rice, 60), Dennehy; Sheppard, Twigg (Kilduff, 70).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)