A weekend which, for a time, threatened to see them fall 10 points behind Pats, turned out to be quite a good one for Rovers as they went into the mid-season break safe in the knowledge that if they win their outstanding game in hand, they will be a single point off the top.
Following the Saints’ defeat away to Dundalk on Friday, Rovers saw off the Students, even if they did have to come from behind after David McMillan gave UCD the lead within the first two minutes.
With good chances at both ends, David Cawley equalised for the Bit O’Red approaching the half hour mark before Aaron Greene put Ian Baraclough’s side in front three minutes into the second half.
An unfortunate slice from UCD substitute Liam Traynor, after a Cawley cross was fizzed into the box, made it 3-1 on 58 minutes before Kieran Djilali sealed the points two minutes later when he slotted a nice Seamus Conneely pass into the bottom right corner.
Dean Clarke, with his first touch after being sprung from the bench, pulled one back for UCD on 62 but the last word went to Rovers’ Joseph Ndo, as he finished off an Alan Keane cross from close range with 20 minutes still to play.
Meanwhile, Waterford United climbed to fourth in the First Division after a 2-0 win away to Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park.
Ben Ryan scored both goals from the spot but Cobh, who are now just two points off bottom-placed Salthill Devon, wasted a number of opportunities to take a first-half lead.
Blues winger Ryan broke the deadlock six minutes before the break with his first spot-kick after Paul Quilty was taken down by Ramblers defender Sean O’Mahony.
O’Mahony also conceded the second 12 minutes from time, when he was judged to have taken down Kevin O’Connor. Again, Ryan made no mistake beating Cobh keeper Robert Birdsall. Blues Daragh Walshe was sent off six minutes before the end.