DUNDALK 5 UCD 2
Dundalk ensured they will take top spot going into the summer break by moving five points clear at the top of the table with another clinical home victory at Oriel park.
But it was the visitors who went ahead on three minutes when Chris Mulhall bent a glorious free-kick over the wall from 35 yards to the back of the net.
The hosts levelled four minutes later when Kurtis Byrne lofted the ball over the top of the UCD central defenders and Patrick Hoban was on to it in a flash, bravely taking a bang from Conor O'Donnell for his troubles in heading the ball past the UCD goalkeeper
The chances continued to flow for the home side as they began to click into their rhythm. Hoban spurned two decent opportunities to add to his tally, first heading a corner wide and then prodding over a Chris Shields’ cross.
On 31 minutes, they hit the front with dead-ball expert Darren Meenan to thank, with a little help from goalkeeper O'Donnell's horrendous kick-out from a back pass which gifted Dundalk a corner after spinning behind him and out, allowing Meenan to cross for Byrne, who nodded in.
Five minutes later a slip on the left allowed Dane Massey to pick out winger Daryl Horgan in the box and he reacted quickly to volley past O'Donnell for his fourth goal in successive league games.
Before the break, Hoban, set to undergo meniscus surgery this month, rattled the bar with a header from another Meenan corner, with Brian Gartland’s follow up being cleared off the line by Barry McCabe.
But from yet another Meenan corner, the big central defender would not be denied, Gartland rising ahigh in the box to power his header low and into the back of the net.
It was no surprise that after such a goal glut in the first half, chances were at more of a premium in the second, although there was late drama when UCD pulled one back through Robbie Benson from the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining for which Andy Boyle appeared to receive a second yellow card without being shown the lin,while Hoban added a late penalty of his own for Dundalk.
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey (Rossiter 71); Shields, Towell (Higgins 71); Meenan, Byrne (Mountney 87), Horgan; Hoban. UCD: O'Donnell; Matthews, Ryan, Barker, Langtry; Morrison (O'Halloran 78), McCabe, Benson, Mulhall; Burke; Belhout (Wilson 87). Referee: Jim McKell (Derry).