They made the final day of FAI Junior Cup last season, but Pike Rovers fell at the first hurdle in the FAI Senior Cup on Friday.
The Limerick District League outfit were defeated by in form League of Ireland First Division side UCD at the Bowl.
Mike Shiels side certainly were not disgraced but UCD did dominate for the most part and deservedly progressed past the Junior side into round 2 of the blue ribbon cup contest.
The Students showed the Limerick side massive respect by fielding a full strength team and started brightly.
However, it was Pike who had the first chance of note. After eight minutes of pressure former LOI player Darragh Rainsford, who recently traded Fairview Rangers for Pike, produced some magic that enabled the visitors to win a corner which Eoin ‘Boris’ Hanrahan headed narrowly wide.
UCD again took control and after another period of pressure a player who knows all too well what it’s like to play amateur ‘ball broke the deadlock.
Timmy Molloy, who has been a regular standout for UCD’s LSL side over the last few seasons, jinked through the amateur defence, forced a save from Junior International Gary Neville, but at the third attempt finally got the ball home.
UCD had a number of half chances as the half progressed, but Rainsford should have done better just minutes before the time.
The experienced player showed great pace to race clear, but miscued a 41 minute effort and the League of Ireland side took a lead into the break.
Stephen McGann, another Irish amateur International fired Pike’s first shot on target six minutes after the restart, but only after Gary O’Neill and Neil Farruga had chances for the hosts.
Just after the hour Conor Davis had a great chance to put some day light between the sides, but somehow managed to miss after a scramble in the visiting area.
Neville then produced the kind of sensational save he is known for in Limerick, keeping out a powerful McClelland volley to send his side into last 20 minutes with hope of a result.
UCD continued to boss possession but Pike remained within touching distance of a historic result up and until the last four minutes when former Reading front Conor Davis clipped over Neville to put the result beyond doubt.