In the opening minutes of the game, both sides seemed quite focussed on attacking their opponents, which looked like it might lead to an open and attacking game of football. Indeed, UCD's Kilduff and Sporting's Conan Byrne were looking extremely lively, and appeared to be the main threats for their respective sides, even at this early stage.
However, as the half progressed, Sporting Fingal were starting to get on top in the middle of the park, where former Students man Ronan Finn was pulling
strings, as he has been doing for the most part this season. Yet, while Liam Buckley's men were getting on the ball more and more, they weren't creating
too many clear-cut openings, which was to UCD's credit, as they were making life very difficult for their North Dublin opponents.
At this point, it looked like the game had 0-0 written all over it, and it appeared that it would take a moment of magic from an individual to really spark the game into the life. As it turned out, this was exactly what happened as the outstanding Byrne picked up a loose ball about 25 yards from the UCD goal, and he made absolutely no mistake by smashing past helpless UCD 'goalie Ger Barron to open the night's scoring.
This was a magnificent piece of play from a player that would have a big impact on the game over the 90 minutes, and Sporting grew visibly in confidence as a result of scoring this goal. Indeed, Byrne and lone front man Gary O'Neill went close to scoring in the 34th and 36th minutes as the Santry outfit looked to add to their advantage.
However, they suffered a big set-back with six first-half minutes later when the tenacious Kilduff robbed the ball off Shaun Maher from just inside the area, before skipping past Ger O'Brien, and shooting low to the back of the Sporting net past Darren Quigley. Given that this goal game during what was a dominant period of play for Sporting, you could argue that this goal did come against the run of play, but UCD were very threatening whenever they got into the final-third, so it wasn't that much of a surprise that the sides were on level terms at one-each as Paul Tuite blew his half-time whistle.
Heading into the second-half, there was still plenty to play for, but Sporting came out from the traps the quickest, with Byrne forcing Barron to stretch three minutes when he attempted an audacious shot from the right-wing. There was nothing Barron could do on 51 minutes though, as Browne pounced to head home a delivery by Finn from the right.
This was not the start the home side would have been hoping for in the second half, although they did go close to equalising eight minutes later when a drive from 30 yards by Kilduff was expertly turned away by Quigley. They went close again on 62 minutes when a superbly-struck Keith Ward looked like it was going to creep in (that was certainly what the UCD crowd thought anyway), but it hit the side-netting in the end.
This was an indicator to Sporting that they wouldn't have everything their own way, although the majority of the chances after this did fall the way of the current FAI Cup Champions. Byrne continued to cause problems for the UCD rearguard with his incisive runs, and he had able support on the right from full-back O'Brien, who gave a perfect cross to O'Neill on 77 minutes, but the latter's shot came back off the underside of the cross-bar.
UCD sought to throw everything at Sporting by introducing Graham Rusk for Chris Mulhall to play up front with Kilduff, but it was actually Sporting who created the best chances in the final few minutes, with substitute Alan Kirby, O'Neill and Maher all going close to scoring in the same sequence of play on 86 minutes.
This win puts Sporting into fourth place just two points behind both St. Patrick's Athletic and Bohemians, while UCD have now slipped to 8th place following Galway United's victory over Drogheda in the Hunky Dory Stadium.
UCD: Barron; Shorthall, Boyle, McMillan, Nangle; Mulhall (Rusk '79), O'Conor, Creevy (Moore '68), Ward; Kilduff, Wilson.
Subs not used: Leahy, O'Connor, Brennan.
Sporting Fingal: Quigley; O'Brien, Maher, Browne, Frost; Byrne, Williams, Finn, Cahill, McFaul (Kirby '46); O'Neill.
Subs not used: Gannon, James, Crowe, Clarke.
Referee: Paul Tuite
Extra Time Man Of The Match: Conan Byrne (Sporting Fingal).