by RTÉ Sport's Glenn Mason

Shamrock Rovers' poor start to the season continues as they were held at home by UCD in a drab scoreless draw at Tallaght Stadium.

Although both sides had their fair share of chances, neither possessed the skill to break the deadlock. The native are restless after only one point from three home games.

The Hoops have struggled in attack so far this season in the absence of Gary Twigg and Dessie Baker. With only two goals in four games before tonight, their return cannot come quick enough.

UCD were full value for the draw and with a bit more composure in the final third they could have left with all three points. As it is, the remain one point above the Hoops in the Airtricity League Premier Division.

As Rovers' injury list grows by the week, Michael O'Neill chose to give new signing Thomas Stewart his debut in attack, while James Chambers filled in at right-back.

UCD boss Martin Russell named an unchanged line-up from the one that beat Bray Wanderers 1-0 last weekend.

The visitors were lively in an opening half short on guile but full of endeavour. Ciaran Kilduff was their main threat and he gave Rovers a warning on 13 minutes by breaking through and forcing Alan Mannus to push his shot out for a corner.

The visitors' three-man central midfield of Robbie Creevy, Greg Bolger and Peter McMahon had a hold on possession, which was in stark contrast to Rovers' poor distribution.

The closest Rovers went to opening the scoring came just short of the half hour when Sean O'Connor picked out Stewart in the box, but Billy Brennan kept out his header.

Both sides started the second half in positive fashion but a goal always seemed unlikely . Greg Bolger's free-kick was flicked goalward by Andy Boyle, but cleared the cross bar.

At the other end, Brian Shortall dived into to deny Barrett an opportunity to strike and a stretching Billy Dennehy headed wide from a James Chambers' centre.

UCD sat back content to hit on the counter attack and another Kilduff strike was spilled by Mannus but collected at second attempt.

The visitors should have claimed a winner as full-time approached, but Mannus denied David McMillan after the impressive Bolger had put him through on goal.

Rovers are facing into a week that could define their season, with Sporting Fingal and Bohemians up next week.

Shamrock Rovers: 1 Mannus; 8 Chambers, 4 Sives, 24 Murray, 3 Stevens (19 Murphy '59); 20 Dennehy, 6 Rice, 25 Bayly, 17 O'Connor (11 Cahill '59); 23 Stewart, 14 Barrett (22 Cowan '77).

UCD: 1 Brennan; 2 Shortall (12 Harding '90), 4 Boyle, 5 E McMillan, 3 Nangle; 8 Creevy (14 Corry '68), 6 Bolger, 7 McMahon; 10 Rusk, 9 Kilduff, 11 D McMillan (15 Ward '85).
Subs not used; 13 Fallon, 16 Barron.
Booked: McMahon,

Subs not used: 16 Duggan, 5 Price.

Booked: Bayly, Sives

Referee: Richie Winter