An inspired Colm Whelan hit a brace as bottom-of-the-table UCD battled back from two goals down against 10-man Dundalk to earn a fully deserved share of the spoils in a thriller at the UCD Bowl.
undalk survived a scare as early as three minutes when Darragh Leahy had to clear off their line from Whelan’s chip after keeper Nathan Shepperd’s fumble.
Dundalk hit back with Patrick Hoban twice threatening before they took the lead on 18 minutes from a corner he had won.
And though Keith Ward’s delivery was headed away, it dropped for Paul Doyle – who scored twice in UCD’s promotion play-off games last year – to drill a deflected shot to the net.
UCD were close to an equaliser when skipper Jack Keaney flashed a header just over from Liam Kerrigan’s free kick before Dundalk were reduced to 10 men in first half stoppage time when experienced defender Andy Boyle, who began his career at UCD, saw a straight red card for a lunging challenge on Dara Keane.
Though UCD began the second half on the front foot, they found themselves further behind on 54 minutes.
Daniel Kelly’s pace got him in behind 18-year-old Yoro who tripped the Dundalk winger.
Hoban sent teenage keeper Kian Moore the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
College hit back on the hour with a sublime finish from Whelan who side footed home Mark Dignam’s pacy cross at the near post.
Evan Caffrey then won a 76th minute penalty which Whelan confidently dispatched.
UCD: Moore; Gallagher, Yoro (Ryan, 56), Todd, Osam; Keane (Verdon, h-t), Keaney; Kerrigan, Caffrey, Dignam (Nolan, 70); Whelan.
Dundalk: Shepperd; Macari, Gartland, Boyle, Leahy; Doyle (Martin, 90+2), Sloggett; Adams (Bone, h-t), Ward (Benson, h-t), Kelly (Bradley, 73); Hoban (McMillan, 73).
Referee: Damien MacGraith (Mayo).