Shels finally on the up as Kelly downs nine-man UCD
UCD 1 Shelbourne 2
Dean Kelly headed in the winning goal as Shelbourne's drive to escape the relegation dogfight gathered pace.
This victory, their third on the spin, lifts them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season and, given the energy and confidence they are now playing with, survival is looking increasingly likely.
Yet you wouldn't have said as much after 40 minutes of last night's game. By then, it was UCD who were in the ascendancy. Leading 1-0, courtesy of Craig Walsh's fine opener, everything was going to plan.
And then the match changed with Mark Langtry's dismissal for his aggressive challenge on Adam Hanlon. Reduced to 10 men, they lost the lead when Sean Brennan curled his shot beyond Mark McGinley following Lee Murtagh's weighted pass.
There was nothing subtle about James Kavanagh's kick on Murtagh shortly into the second half, however.
It resulted in UCD's second dismissal and with that, the game ended as a contest because by now it was 2-1 – Kelly having headed in Hanlon's left-wing cross to put Shels in front on 53 minutes.
So with a one-goal – and two-man – advantage, Shelbourne were never going to lose either their lead or their grip on this game. John McDonnell's charges employed a patient passing game and a tireless work ethic to see things out.
Yet, for all that, UCD caused panic in the Shels defence with a couple of dangerous corners in the closing minutes. Shels, though, did enough to seal the points.
UCD – McGinley; Douglas (Belhout 60), O'Connor, Russell; Matthews, McCabe, Walsh (Morrison 67), Kavanagh, Langtry; Benson, Clarke (Boyle 57).
SHELBOURNE – Murphy; Shorthall (Cornwall 89), Flynn, O'Connor, Doyle; Brennan, Cronin, Hurley, Hanlon; Kelly (Tinnelly 84), Murtagh.
REF – S Grant (Dublin).