Reigning champions University of Limerick are through to the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final after a narrow 0-19 to 0-16 victory over hosts SETU Waterford in the penultimate stage.
In what was a tight contest throughout, they had net-minder Dean Mason for eventually getting them over the line, as they qualified for Saturday's decider where they will face University of Galway.
The showpiece will be live on TG4 from 1pm Saturday.
UL get the job done
The first-half was a tale of two marksmen, as Reuben Halloran (0-6) and Gearoid O'Connor (0-9) traded scores. The opening 30 minutes failed to separate the sides, with the scoreboard reading 0-12 apiece at the half-way mark.
The crucial moment came on the 36-minute mark. University of Limerick goalkeeper Mason, fresh from helping Ballyhale Shamrocks to the All-Ireland Club Championship title, pulled off a stunning double-save.
First the Kilkenny man denied Gavin Fives, before he scrambled to his feet to save a Sean Walsh shot. Seconds later, UL worked the ball up the field and Tipperary's Bryan O'Meara fired over from half-way.
You can watch Mason's theatric double-save in the video below (time-stamped 39:50):
It was a real momentum-shifter, as UL went on to score five points without reply, moving into a 0-17 to 0-13 lead.
Nonetheless, the hosts continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Padraig Fitzgerald's third of the evening was eye-catching, while another Halloran free also kept the home side in touch.
Limerick star Colin Coughlan and Gearoid O'Connor pushed it out to a 0-19 to 0-16 advantage, as SETU Waterford were forced to switch their focus to green flags with the clock continuing to tick down.
With injury-time almost elapsed, they were awarded a free on the 20-metre line. Billy Nolan unleashed a bullet, but UL had Mason to thank once more as the shot-stopper produced another dramatic save.
UL are back in the final, and judging by their gritty display on Thursday night, they are in no mood to relinquish control of the Dr Edwin Fitzgibbon Cup just yet.
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