With five ex-UCD players in their match-day squad, Shamrock Rovers confirmed the Students’ relegation with a comfortable victory at the UCD Bowl. Dominating from the start in front of watching Republic of Ireland U-21 manager Stephen Kenny, FAI Cup finalists Rovers were ahead on 14 minutes.
Dylan Watts won a free kick which he floated to the far post where skipper Lee Grace nodded the ball back into the area for defender Joey O’Brien to head home.
UCD ’keeper Conor Kearns tipped-over to deny Graham Cummins after the striker nipped in behind from Aaron McEneff’s clever back-heel before Rovers struck for their second goal right on 45 minutes. McEneff’s crisp pass found U-21 international Neil Farrugia who slalomed past two defenders before dinking a chip to the back post for Cummins to nod home.
It remained one-way traffic into the second half, Kearns touching a McEneff free kick round a post 11 minutes in.
But a mistake by the UCD ’keeper would gift Rovers their third goal on 63 minutes. Kearns slipped, injuring himself in the process, in merely clearing a back pass straight to Brandon Kavanagh. The 19-year-old ran in to side-foot the ball into the unguarded net for his first league goal for the club.
With the Cup final in mind, the only worry for Rovers on the night was Farrugia leaving the field with an injury as the Hoops played over 10 minutes with 10 men as all substitutes had been used.
UCD: Kearns; Tobin, Farrell, Scales, Dignam; Doyle, Keaney; McClelland (McDonald, 69), Keane (Behan, 88), O’Farrell; Mahdy (Byrne, 20).
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; O’Brien (Lopes, 61), Lafferty, Grace; Boyle, McEneff (Burke, 61), Bolger, Watts (O’Niell, 29), Farrugia; B. Kavanagh, Cummins.