TWO goals from Gary O'Neill proved decisive as Drogheda made hard work of defeating UCD at Hunky Dorys Park.
The Students started on the back foot and it was no surprise when they conceded the opening goal on 21 minutes. Gavin Brennan cut the ball back from the byline for O'Neill to tap in.
Drogheda doubled their advantage just after the half-hour when a Brennan volley somehow trundled past Mark McGinley. The visitors profited from some Drogs uncertainty on 38 minutes when Robbie Benson fired past keeper Gabriel Sava.
O'Neill clinically finished off a counter-attack on 49 minutes after a great pass from Ryan Brennan to make it 3-1. UCD responded by bringing on two subs just before the hour mark, one of whom put the game back in the melting pot in the 67th minute.
David McMillan muscled Derek Prendergast off the ball and rolled it to Dean Clarke who slotted past Sava.
Shane Grimes then had to make a goal-line clearance to prevent UCD hauling themselves level in the 76th minute, before Graham Rusk missed an opportunity to put the game to bed, firing wide with only McGinley to beat.
In the end, Drogheda managed to hold out for a hard-earned three points.
DROGHEDA – Sava; Gannon, McNally, Prendergast, Grimes; Rusk (Daly 83), Cassidy, O'Conor, R Brennan, G Brennan; O'Neill.
UCD – McGinley; Matthews (Clarke 59), Langtry, O'Connor, Boyle; Creevy (McCabe 78), Walsh, Benson, Burke (Douglas 59), Russell; McMillan.
Ref – A Kelly (Cork).