UCD 1-13 NUIG 2-09
Favourites UCD claimed their second Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup title in three seasons thanks to a brace of late points from attacker Liam Casey at Santry Avenue.
John Divilly's side were hot tips for success beforehand and lined out with Dublin superstar Con O'Callaghan in their ranks.
But it was a tough slog throughout and the Belfield outfit required Tipperary man Casey's double, including a 62nd minute match winner, to finally shake off NUI Galway.
It's UCD's 34th Sigerson win and they have Monaghan's Conor McCarthy to thank in a large part for it as he struck a brilliant 1-6.
He was involved in the game's biggest turning point in the 20th minute when he scored UCD's goal which left them just 1-01 to 0-05 down after a slow start.
That goal came moments after NUI Galway captain Damien Comer had struck the woodwork at the other end when a goal for the westerners would have opened up a 1-05 to 0-01 lead.
It was a big reprieve for UCD though the game still went all the way to the wire with extra-time looming throughout the final quarter in a tense decider.
Former Mayo player Maurice Sheridan was in charge of NUI Galway who chased a first competition win in 15 years.
They were aided by Kieran Molloy who dashed from Tullamore, where he'd played the whole game for Corofin in the AIB All-Ireland club semi-finals, to come on as a second-half substitute.
Molloy was involved in two important plays, helping Adam Gallagher to score a goal in the 49th minute and he also surged upfield to strike a shot off an upright.
A second Corofin player, Liam Silke, is part of the UCD setup but picked up an injury in the Corofin game and wasn't going to be used by Divilly anyhow.
McCarthy hit UCD's first 1-3 and further points from Laois duo Eoin Lowry and Evan O'Carroll tied the scores up at half-time, 1-5 to 0-8.
Casey opened the second-half scoring for UCD but NUI Galway netted through Sean Kelly in the 39th minute when he flicked home after Comer's shot was only half cleared.
UCD fought back to lead briefly at 1-09 to 1-08 but then Molloy and Eoin Finnerty combined to play in Gallagher for NUI Galway's second goal.
That left Sheridan's side 2-8 to 1-10 up with 10 minutes of normal time to go.
But UCD finished strongest and reeled in that two-point deficit by outscoring their opponents 0-04 to 0-01 in the closing minutes, O'Callaghan, McCarthy and that Casey double getting them over the winning line. Match winner Casey was black carded in the closing moments.
It remains to be seen whether McCarthy features for Monaghan tomorrow in the Allianz league against Kerry while midfield pairing Jack Barry and Barry O'Sullivan have been named in the Kerry team.
UCD: Charlie Manton (Tipperary); Peter Healy (Antroim), Cillian O'Shea (Dublin), Conor Mullally (Dublin); Luke Fortune (Cavan), Jimmy Feehan (Tipperary), Stephen Coen (Mayo); Barry O'Sullivan (Kerry), Jack Barry (Kerry); Liam Casey (Tipperary) (0-03), Conor McCarthy (Monaghan) (1-06, 0-03f), Brian Byrne (Kildare); Eoin Lowry (Laois) (0-02), Evan O'Carroll (Laois) (0-01), Con O'Callaghan (Dublin) (0-01).
Subs: Brian O'Seanachain (Kerry) for Fortune (h/t), Tom Hayes for O'Carroll (58).
NUI Galway: Tadhg O'Malley (Galway); Kevin McDonnell (Sligo), Sean Mulkerrin (Galway), Stephen Brennan (Mayo); Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch (Sligo), Ruairi Greene (Galway), Colm Kelly (Donegal); Cein D'Arcy (Galway), Peter Cooke (Galway); Enda Tierney (Galway) (0-03, 0-01f), Owen Gallagher (Antrim), Adam Gallagher (Mayo) (1-03, 0-03f); Sean Kelly (Galway) (1-00), Damien Comer (Galway) (0-03), Brian Donovan (Limerick).
Subs: Ronan O'Toole (Westmeath) for Kelly (34), Kieran Molloy (Galway) for Greene (39), Eoin Finnerty (Galway) for Owen Gallagher (44), Ryan Forde (Galway) for Donovan (46).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).