First half strikes from two-goal Darragh Rainsford and David O’Leary did the business for the Stuart Taylor’s at the home of Munster rugby in their third match back in Ireland’s top flight after a 19-season absence.
The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges, but it was the hosts that had the first meaningful shot on target, O’Leary bringing a fine save out of Mark McGinley after eight minutes.
Five minutes later, Limerick edged in front after Rainsford’s shot from inside the box deflected off a defender and looped over McGinley’s head in the back of the net.
The UCD net-minder was then left red-faced after O’Leary, who was carried off injured on the stroke of half time, doubled his sides’ advantage with a low 30-yard drive which flew between his legs.
Sean Russell clipped a free kick over the bar at the other end, but the game was effectively over on the half hour after Samir Belhoot’s weak back pass was intercepted by Craig Curran.
Curran rounded the keeper and when Hugh Douglas cleared his diagonal effort off the line, Rainsford was on hand to blast the ball into the roof of an empty net.
UCD midfielder Barry McCabe was booked for a theatrical dive in the 38th minute, while David McMillian shot into the arms of Lims keeper Dave Ryan following a beautifully weighted pass from Garry Burke just before the break. McGinley tipped Steve Bradley’s audacious 35-yard lob onto the bar five minutes after the break and then saved Patrick Nzuzi’s follow up.
McGinley then denied Brian O’Callaghan with a point-blank saved following a Curran flick on from a Shane Tracey corner on the hour.
UCD pulled one back with 18 minutes remaining, McMillian playing Gary Burke through the middle of a sleepy Limerick defence to slot home from inside the area.
But that was about as a good as it got for the visitors on a evening when Limerick celebrated an historic victory/
nCork City’s game away to Bray Wanderers and the game between St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne were both postponed last night after falling victim to the weather.
LIMERICK FC: Ryan, Nzuzi (Kelly 77) Williams, Gamble, O’Callaghan, Folan, Curran, Galbraith, Tracy (McGann 73) O’Leary inj (Bradley h/t) Rainsford.
UCD: McGinley, Matthews, Douglas, Boyle, Langtry, Clarke inj (Belhoot 9) McCabe (Walsh 69) Greevy (Kavanagh 87) Russell, Russell, Burke, McMillian.
Referee: A Kelly (Cork)