Declan Devine celebrated his 100th game as Derry City manager with a comfortable 2-0 win away UCD on Friday night.
Former Student Greg Sloggett and defender Darren Cole scored in either half as the Candystripes’ renaissance under Devine continues.
The result lifts Derry up to third in the table following the champions Dundalk’s surprise 2-1 reverse in Sligo Rovers.
The Candystripes could have trailed as early as the opening seconds, however, as Yoyo Mahdy charged down a short backpass to Peter Cherrie, but the ball squirmed clear.
Derry began to find their rhythm and former Coleraine man Ciaron Harkin – one of a dozen new signings in the off-season – robbed Josh Collins but couldn’t keep his shot down.
UCD thought they should have had a penalty when Neil Farrugia went on a stunning individual run to the box, but he was brought down right on the line by Eoin Toal.
The defender took a yellow card for the team, and it was one he was happy to take when Gary O’Neill failed to find the target with his free kick.
Derry took the lead just past the midway point courtesy of Sloggett, who had been a key member of Collie O’Neill’s side that gained promotion last season.
He forced a world class stop from Conor Kearns when his header was somehow plucked out of the net, but he made no mistake from Barry McNamee’s corner as he nodded in from close range.
UCD had a stonewall penalty appeal waved away when David Parkhouse controlled the ball with his hand in the box, but they were already waning in the face of a hard-working Derry side.
Eoghan Stokes saw his shot saved by Kearns before a quick counter saw Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe tee up McNamee, but his shot was blocked at the near post.
The hosts had chances after the break as Scales headed an O’Neill corner just wide, before O’Neill himself smashed a long-range effort just over.
Derry doubled their lead against the run of play when a good run from Ogedi-Uzokwe forced a corner, and Cole forced home after UCD against made a mess of McNamee’s delivery.
UCD: Kearns; Tobin, Scales, Collins, Dignam; O'Neill, O’Farrell (Doyle 77), Molloy; Farrugia, McClelland (Coffey 77), Mahdy (McDonald 86).
Derry City: Cherrie; Cole, Gilchrist, Toal, Coll; Sloggett, McNamee, Harkin; Stokes (Bruna 72), Ogedi-Uzokwe, Parkhouse (McClean 86).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).