Dave Donnelly reports from Jackson Park
Wexford Youths made hard work of things at Jackson Park on Sunday afternoon but Rianna Jarrett's second-half goal was enough to earn the champions a fourth win from five league games.
Jarrett got on the end of a pass from substitute Orla Casey before slotting the ball low past goalkeeper Erica Turner to register her fourth goal of the season.
Wexford came up against a determined but limited UCD Waves side who defended stoutly and could have equalised as the visitors tired in the closing stages.
That would have been poor reward for Youths' endeavour, particularly in the first half, when they penned in a Waves side deprived of a number of key players through injury.
The pattern was set early on as Waves found it tought to hold possession against the physicality of their opponents, and Aisling Frawley was first to test Turner with an attempted lob.
It was Frawley again, shortly after, who created the game's first clear chance as she looped a cross onto the head of Becky Conroy on her opposite wing, but she steered a difficult header wide.
Conroy returned the compliment with interest when she played a lovely low ball across the six-yard box for the arriving Frawley, but she failed to make adequate contact at the back post.
Lauren Dwyer headed a Frawley corner wide, while Chelsee Snell – who was a rock at the back for an under-pressure Waves side – turned another Conroy effort past the post.
A quick turn and shot from Jarrett forced Turner to tip the ball over the bar and, from the resulting corner, the keeper did wonderfully well to save an Orlaith Conlon shot she had seen late.
Claire O'Riordan was wasteful from Edel Kennedy's through ball and Jarrett spurned a free header at the back post as a frustrated Youths side went into the break without the goal they craved.
It was more of the same after the break, but UCD did gradually gain some sort of foothold in the game, with Naima Chemaou testing Sophie Lenehan for the first time with a snapshot.
Casey was introduced on the wing for Becky Conroy with 24 minutes remaining and her impact was instant, pulling the ball back for Jarrett to slide home.
Wexford would have expected to kick on from there and close the game out, but instead Waves manager Noel Kealy introduced fresh legs and they finished the game on the front foot.
The excellent winger Dearbhaile Beirne was close to setting up Leanne Payne from a cross, before shooting just over after she'd shown the greater determination to dispossess Katrina Parrock.
The champions did limit them to shots from distance in the closing stages and when Chemaou saw an ambitious 35-yard free kick fly just over the bar, the three points were theirs.
UCD Waves: Erica Turner; Aisling Dunbar, Róisín McGovern (Aisling Spillane 74), Chelsee Snell, Katie Burdis (Keelin McEntee 88); Sinead Gaynor, Chloe Mustaki, Sophie O'Donoghue (Jenny Chambers 78); Naima Chemaou, Deirbheala Beirne, Leeanne Payne.
Subs not used: Caolán Carroll, Carla Moran, Eimear Lafferty, Orla Haran.
Booked: Naima Chemaou (42).
Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenehan; Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer (Katrina Parrock 75), Orlaith Conlon, Becky Cassin; Becky Conroy (Orla Casey 66), Kylie Murphy, Edel Kennedy, Aisling Frawley; Claire O'Riordan (Amy Walsh 81), Rianna Jarrett.
Subs not used: Ciara Delaney, Clionagh Ní Shí, Rachel Hutchinson.
Referee: Paula Brady.
Attendance: 75 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Edel Kennedy (Wexford Youths).