And, as much as the result was a bitter blow for Tommy Dunne and his players, it was a personal triumph for UCD’s David McMillan whose brace on the night takes him up to third in the club’s all-time list of league scorers.
For their part, City’s last game before the summer recess had been a morale-boosting 1-0 home win over Drogheda United but, going into last night’s fixture, they were once again grappling with the kind of missing list which has troubled them for much of the season, Dan Murray, Colin Healy and Danny Morrissey all absent.
The visitors were caught cold a UCD raced into the lead from their very first attack, Sean Russell pulling the ball back from the left for Robbie Creevy to shoot. Cork defender Darren Dennehy did well to make the block but keeper Mark McNulty could do nothing about David McMillan finishing on the rebound, with just 35 seconds gone.
And 10 minutes later, Dennehy was called into urgent action again, clearing an angled Sean Russell drive off the line as UCD’s enterprising play belied their second-from- bottom status.
Cork regrouped after the early shock, Daryl Horgan testing Mark McGinley with a long-range effort before Shane Duggan spurned a great chance on the half-hour when, picked out in the box by a superb Danny Murphy cross, he could only send an acrobatic volley over the top.
UCD were now pretty much penned back into their own final third but, despite Horgan seeing plenty of the ball on the right flank, City still failed to really test McGinley in the home goal for the remainder of the first half.
With Daryl Kavanagh struggling to make an impact in the game, Cork’s lack of a cutting edge looked like it was set to be their biggest problem as they sought to get back on level terms in the second half. That was until their task was made a whole lot harder after a bolt from a blue shirt in the 53rd minute, that man McMillan letting fly with a spectacular shot from fully 35 yards to beat McNulty all ends up in the Cork goal.
Just past the hour mark, Danny Furlong failed to make the most of a rare sight of goal for the visitors and Tommy Dunne then sent on Denis Behan for Kavanagh in a bid to retrieve the situation.
But, in the 70th minute, City’s mission was rendered impossible when Hugh Douglas headed home substitute Belhout’s corner to give the Students a 3-0 lead and add to City’s misery.
UCD: McGinley, Matthews, Douglas, O’ Connor, Langtrey, Burke (Belhout 65), Creevy, Benson (McCabe 81), Kavanagh, Russell, McMillan
CORK CITY: McNulty, N Horgan, Dennehy, Buckley, Murphy, Dunleavy, D. Horgan (Turner 74), Duggan, Buckley, G Morrissey, Kavanagh (Behan 67), Furlong
Referee: Adriano Reale (Kildare).