UCD 2 Longford Town 1
Colm Whelan scored a sublime winner to celebrate his inclusion in the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad announced earlier in the day.
The Kilkenny native’s 17th goal of the season keeps promotion-chasing UCD’s season very much on the boil. Andy Myler’s side now advance to the quarter-finals of the cup.
Longford started positively with Dylan Grimes forcing an 11th minute save from Lorcan Healy, while Conor Davis shot just past a post.
UCD soon came alive, with Whelan and Liam Kerrigan having drives blocked by defender Joe Manley.
They finished the half on the front foot, Paul Doyle touching a free kick to Evan Weir to bring a fine save from Mick Kelly.
UCD skipper Jack Keaney rattled Kelly's crossbar with a 30-yard free kick early in the second half, before a foul on Kerrigan delivered UCD's lead on 70 minutes. Paul Doyle stepped up to completely deceive Kelly with a low kick that arced into the corner of the net.
Longford hit back within three minutes. Rob Manley did well on the left to whip over a low cross for Dean Williams to finish from close range.
Williams brought a good save from Healy with a shot on the turn, before Whelan’s moment arrived on 80 minutes.
Collecting the ball 25 yards out, the First Division’s leading scorer looked up to hit a right-foot strike that gave Kelly no chance as it powered to the roof of the net.
UCD: Healy; Osam, O'Brien, Todd, Weir; Doyle, Keaney; Kerrigan, Verdon (Keane, 69), Dignam; Whelan.
LONGFORD TOWN: Kelly; J. Manley, O'Driscoll, McDonnell, Kirk (Warfield, 83); Grimes, Nugent (Bryne, 87), Robinson (Zambra, 74); Williams, Davis (Dobbs, 74), R. Manley.
Referee: Ariano Reale (Kildare).