UUJ won their sixth Sigerson Cup title in an extra-time thriller last night, seven weeks after the original date scheduled for the decider.
They finally got their hands on the universities blue riband trophy at Carlow IT by seeing off a Garda College side that had reached the final in spite of a series of objections over player eligibility.
Antrim attacker Paddy Cunningham was the star of the show, hitting a 1-9 tally, while Derry's Mark Lynch weighed in with six points.
There was little to separate the sides in a tense opening quarter, with Rory Guinan and Mark Harrington on target for Garda, and Karl Lacey, Paddy Cunningham and mark Lynch responding for the Poly.
The sides were locked on three points each after nine minutes, and they were level for the third time on 20 minutes after Guinan and John O'Brien, from a free, had traded scores ith Cunningham, who was equally accurate from play and frees.
It was the Antrim attacker's eye for goal that proved the difference between the sides in the closing stages of the half.
After Mark Lynch had launched a sideline kick between the posts, Cunningham shot two points to give the northerners a 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead.
Cuningham collected a Tomas McCann pass to blast home a goal five minutes into the second half, and when he added his sixth point, the poly led by six.
But Garda College responded with a ferocity that their opponents could not withstand, and when John O'Brien drilled home a goal direct from a 20 metre free, they were right back in it.
Three points on the spin, including a stoppage time leveller from substitute James Martin, sent the game to extra-time, with the sides locked on 1-11 each.
Garda corner back Cormac McGill was sent off for a second booking early in added time, but they were still on level terms midway through, on 1-14 each, with Lynch adding two more to his tally, and Guinan hitting a couple at the other end.
Chief tormentors Lynch and Cunningham finished the job, and UUJ held out for a thrilling victory, despite finishing with just 13 men, subs James McGovern and Ciaran Donnelly both picking up second bookings in the dying moments.
UUJ: M McAllister, C Harrison, D McCaul, D Morgan, P McGuigan, K Lacey (0-1), P Donnelly, B McKenna, C Cavanagh, D Hughes, T McCann, R Mulgrew, M Lynch (0-6, 3 frees), P Cunningham (1-9, 4 frees), A Moran.
Subs: J McGovern for Hughes, B Dunnion for Harrison, C Donnelly for Moran.
GARDA COLLEGE: P O'Connor, C McGill, D Mullahy, E Callaghan, A O'Mahony, A O'Donovan, S Buckley, R Guinan (0-6, 3 frees, 1 '45'), D Glennon, J O'Brien (1-4, 1-2 frees), M Harrington (0-3, 1 free), J Keane.
Subs: B Brennan for Keane, J Martin (0-1) for O'Donovan.
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).