Cork City’s mini-revival under caretaker manager John Cotter continued as they picked up a third win in four away to UCD on Monday night.
Cian Bargary’s first senior goal was enough for the Rebel Army to beat the Students for the second time this month to lift them above Sligo Rovers and Waterford into sixth place.
The substitute headed home six minutes after his introduction after Conor Kearns had done well to tip Karl Sheppard’s header onto the bar.
The result heaps further misery for Collie O’Neill’s UCD side, who have now lost eight on the bounce since beating Cork in April, and haven’t scored in six games.
It was a game the Students dominated for the most part against a City side content to put nine men behind the ball and defend deeply.
City should have taken the lead after just six minutes when Garry Buckley headed tamely at Kearns, but the home side took control from there.
Richie O’Farrell volleyed over their first real chance before Conor Davis shot meekly at Mark McNulty after doing well to eke out the space.
McNulty’s error should have led to UCD taking the lead but Sean McDonald took too much out of the ball and the keeper did brilliantly to get back across and tip away his shot.
Wing-back Neil Farrugia – watched by Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager Stephen Kenny – had the measure of City right-full Gary Boylan all night.
He nutmegged Boylan before fizzing a ball across the six-yard box, and another mazy solo run saw him go down under a City challenge but his only reward was a corner.
From the resulting delivery, O’Farrell’s header was smuggled clear by a mass of Cork defenders, while Davis was inches from heading in another terrific Farrugia cross.
City had chances on the break and James Tilley shot just over before sub Bargary broke the deadlock, heading home from close range after Sheppard’s header met the bar.
Tilley and Buckley were booked late on, the latter for a nasty studs-up tackle on Gary O’Neill, as City shut up shop to good effect.
They could have wrapped it up in the final minute when Tilley played in Kevin O’Connor, but Kearns saved, however the visitors held out for three points.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Evan Farrell, Josh Collins, Liam Scales; Gary O’Neill, Paul Doyle (Danu Bishop 90), Richie O’Farrell, Neil Farrugia; Conor Davis (Yoyo Mahdy 82), Sean McDonald, Jason McClelland
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Gary Boylan, Sean McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy, Garry Comerford; Conor McCormack, Kevin O’Connor, Garry Buckley; James Tilley, Daire O’Connor (Cian Bargery 66), Karl Sheppard (Graham Cummins 90+5)
Referee: Iwan Griffith (Wales)