DCU were left heartbroken after having victory snatched from their grasp late on in Tuesday night's FItzgibbon Cup semi-final at Waterford IT.
UCC snatched glory when a penalty, that some DCU hurlers contested, in added time of extra-time saw them defeat the Glasnevin University 2-17 to 0-22 with Chris O'Leary emerging the late, late hero.
O’Leary’s 82nd minute penalty secured victory for the Cork students after last year’s beaten finalists DCU looked to have booked their berth in the decider with a late Chris Crummey point.
The sides were level on nine occasions over a tense encounter. DCU talisman James Bergin, who amassed 0-10 (0-8f), forced the additional 20 minutes with a free two minutes into stoppage time at the end of normal time.
In normal time DCU had edged the opening 20 minutes and led by 0-8 to 0-6 before Shane Kingston rattled the back of the DCU net to propel the Cork University into the lead for the first time.
Cork senior Kingston landed a superb point from a tight angle just moments later to send UCC in leading by the minimum (1-8 to 0-10) at the interval.
They were level four times throughout the second-half, including at the finish when Bergin’s brilliant effort left it at 1-13 to 0-16 after 62 minutes.
DCU were on the cusp of victory until conceding that late, late penalty which Kilkenny man O’Leary found to the net to leave Eoin Roche’s men stunned at the final whistle.
SCORERS - UCC: S Kingston, C O'Leary (1-0 pen, 0-1f) 1-5 each, S Conway 0-6 (0-4f), M Coleman 0-1. DCU: J Bergin 0-10 (0-8f), R O'Connor 0-3, Billy Ryan, S Morrissey 0-2 each, R McBride, C Crummey, D Mullen, D Reck, D Burke 0-1 each.
UCC: J Barry; N O’Leary, E Gunning, K Dwyer; C O’Leary, E Murphy, D Griffin; M Coleman, C Browne; P O'Loughlin, S Kingston; S Conway; M O'Halloran, M Kehoe, Colm Roche. Subs: E Sheehan for O'Halloran (3), D Fitzgibbon for Kehoe (25), M Kehoe for Sheehan (48), R Donohue for Roche (53), S Hayes for Kehoe (61), D Lynch for Dwyer (63), D Walsh for Donohue (70).
DCU: O Foley; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, A Maddock; P Foley, C Delaney, C Crummey; D Reck, R McBride; D Burke, R O'Connor, F Whitely; Billy Ryan, J Bergin, S Morrissey. Subs: J Donnelly for Burke (40), F McGibb for Morrissey (40), K Doyle for Ryan (55), D Mullen for Maddock (59), Brian Ryan for Doyle (60), Billy Ryan for McGibb (60), C Burke for Billy Ryan (77), D Gray for O'Connor (79).
REF: T Walsh (Waterford)