In the grand scheme of a relegation battle, a point wasn't of a whole lot of use to UCD’s survival hopes.

Finn Harps, though, took a big step towards booking themselves a spot in the promotion-relegation play-off with a point against their relegation foes.

Harps remain six points ahead of the Students who, with three games to go, look set for a swift return to Division One.

Harps were left incensed with the non-award of a penalty seven minutes into the second half.

Raffaele Cretaro tumbled under pressure from Evan Farrell, but referee John McLoughlin waved away the huge appeals from the hosts.

Harps had the better of the chances, but UCD - now without a win in nine Premier Division outings - had their own moments.

Young sub Stephen Doherty and Mark Russell called Conor Kearns, the UCD goalkeeper, into action, but Kearns repelled their efforts. 

Harps were down the suspended Nathan Boyle and Daniel O’Reilly and Horgan shook things up with returns to the starting XI for Mark Coyle, Tony McNamee and Harry Ascroft.

Coyle shot wide in the first half when well placed while Ruairi Harkin saw a deflected free kick fly over the top and Tony McNamee shot over.

UCD began to warm to the task early in the second half as Jason McClelland shot narrowly wide and Donegal Town’s Jack Keaney headed at McGinley.

A former UCD goalkeeper, McGinley denied Yousef Mahdy with a superb save just before the hour. McGinley brilliantly pushed away Mahdy’s testing drive from the right-hand side of the penalty box. 

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Harry Ascroft, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg, Ruairi Harkin (Stephen Doherty 64), Tony McNamee, Mark Timlin (Gareth Harkin 64), Mark Russell; Mark Coyle (Mikey Place 86), Raffaele Cretaro.

UCD: Conor Kearns; Evan Farrell, Harry McEvoy, Luke Boore, Mark Dignam; Liam Kerrigan (Richie O'Farrell 80), Jack Keane, Paul Doyle, Jason McClelland (Dany Kinsella-Bishop 89); Dara Keane, Yousef Mahdy.

Referee: John McLoughlin