UCD moved clear at the top of the First Division as they were held to a scoreless draw by a rapidly improving Cork City side in Belfield on Friday night.
The Students came into the game on a good run of form, with three wins and a draw from their last four games, but they were reliant on goalkeeper Carl Williams for earning them a point.
Williams was preferred to regular netminder Lorcan Healy for his first senior appearance since May 2018 – when Collie O'Neill’s side were beaten 2-0 by Cabinteely in their title-winning season.
And the keeper, who spent the last couple of years with the Students’ Leinster Senior League side, had to be at his best to keep out fine efforts from Jack Lynch and Cian Bargary.
Lynch looked certain to have put the visitors in front after 14 minutes with a bullet header, but Williams showed great reflexes to palm the ball away.
Darragh Crowley looked certain to bury the rebound but Harvey O’Brien managed to dive in the way to divert the ball over the bar.
UCD were playing all the football in the early stages but they found a City side, who look more solid since reverting to a 4-4-2, too tough to break down.
The league’s top scorer, Colm Whelan, did manage to find a way through on the half-hour mark with a lovely weaving run but he pulled his subsequent shot past the post.
Danu Kinsella-Bishop should have done better when set up by Whelan moments later but, with the goal at his mercy, he scuffed his shot completely.
Whelan went closer with his second attempt at he received the ball on the edge of the box and curled a wonderfully struck shot on goal, but it flew an inch over the bar with Mark McNulty beaten.
Williams was the hero once more on the stroke of half time as Bargary danced inside from the right and smashed a shot goalwards, the keeper’s firm hand turning the ball over the bar.
The second half began with a flurry as Whelan tested McNulty from range, while Crowley shot wide and Williams was again alert to deny Cian Murphy close in.
UCD continued to probe but were restricted to shots from distance, while Williams was again alert to keep out Crowley’s back post header.
Andy Myler’s Students move a point clear of Shelbourne, who travel to Cork on Saturday night to face Cobh Ramblers.
Elsewhere, Treaty United moved into a share of third place with a 1-0 win over Athlone; the two sides now sit three off the top of the table.
Jack Lynch bagged the only goal of the game for the Limerick side in the 22nd minute of the game.
It was a good day for Galway United, who had earlier been awarded three points for an unplayed game at Cabinteely last month, and the Tribesmen grabbed all three points in tonight's home tie with lowly Wexford.
David Hurley's late, late winner was enough to see the home side take all three points as the visitors, who are on the lookout for a new manager, remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Bray Wanderers enjoyed a comfortable victory at the Carlisle Grounds, beating Cabinteely 3-0.
Dylan Barrett and Richie O'Farrell put the Seagulls into a commanding 2-0 half-time lead, and Gary Shaw sealed the victory in the 73rd minute.
UCD: Carl Williams; Harvey O’Brien, Sam Todd, Evan Weir; Eoin Farrell (Evan Farrell 80), Sean Brennan, Dara Keane, Mark Dignam (Ciaran Behan 87); Paul Doyle (Donal Higgins 87), Danu Kinsella Bishop (Adam Lennon 55), Colm Whelan.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Gordon Walker Cian Coleman, Jonas Hakkinen, Ronan Hurley; Alec Byrne (Gearoid Morrissey 43), Darragh Crowley, Jack Baxter, Cian Bargary; Cian Murphy (Dylan McGlade 76), Jack Walsh (Beneoin Whitmarsh O’Brien 59).
Referee: Oliver Moran.