The Students had a good season last year with a third placed finish, but it'll be a test of their credentials when they welcome favourites Galway United to the UCD Bowl (kick-off 7.45pm).
They’ve managed to hold on to the bulk of last season’s squad including the First Division’s top scorer of 2017 George Kelly.
In their opening game of the season Collie O’Neill’s side proved they are certainly no pushovers when they came back from a goal down to defeat Shelbourne 2-1 at the Belfield Bowl.
Goals from Gregory Sloggett and Timmy Molloy sealed that opening day win and they’ll be looking to test their mettle fully against First Division title favourites Galway United on Friday night.
The Tribesmen started the 2018 season extremely well by beating Athlone Town 4-1 in Eamonn Deacy Park, with new singing Danny Furlong nabbing a hat-trick on his debut.
While his side emphatically beat Athlone in that last game, manager Shane Keegan will be still looking for United to improve on their performance against UCD.
“UCD look strong. When you look at their starting eleven, Niall Corbet is really the only player from last year that they’ve lost,” he told the club’s website.
“Greg Sloggett and Gary O’Neill are as good a centre midfield partnership as there is in this division.
“When you look at Georgie Kelly’s goal scoring ratio last season, he is the type of centre forward that could score enough goals to take a team to the title.
“I think they’ll be right up there. I don’t think you’ll get a tougher game in the division than going away to UCD.
“Despite a good win and score line against Athlone, there were signs that we’re not at the level we need to be at just yet.
“We’re looking at the performance, I didn’t think we were fantastic, we were sloppy at the times, but the quality we had and Danny’s finishing was the difference between the two sides.
“We would hope to be a lot tidier in possession and be more secure in our defensive structure when we travel to UCD on Friday.”
Shane Keegan will have almost a full squad to choose from tomorrow night with midfielder Conor Melody being the only confirmed absentee as he recovers from a knee injury.
Referee: John McLoughlin
These sides last met in November 2014 in the promotion/relegation playoffs.
The second leg was in Eamonn Deacy Park where the then-Galway FC smashed three goals past The Students to relegate them from the Premier Division.
Gary Shanahan, Alex Byrne and Ryan Manning each scored for Galway that night.
UCD 17/10; Draw 5/2; Galway United 13/10.
UCD 1-1 Galway United
Injured: Conor Melody.