University of Limerick finally ended Waterford Institute of Technology’s long reign as Ashbourne Cup champions, having a point to spare after a hard-fought final at Queen’s University.

In doing so, they were claiming their first title since 2005, and gaining revenge for a heartbreaking defeat in last year’s decider. On that occasion, a late free from Emma Comerford got WIT to extra time, and then a brilliant goal from Denise Gaule and a pointed free from distance by Trish Jackman turned a three-point deficit with two minutes left into a famous one-point win.

Cáit Devane was the chief contributor as UL motored into a five-point lead in the first half. The Tipperary sharpshooter was in clinical form but Katie Power managed to escape the shackles of Linda Bolger to hand-pass a goal against the run of play. That galvanised the Waterford side and keep them in contention at the break, trailing by just 0-7 to 1-3.

There was nothing in it in the second half as both sets of players gave their all in front of a packed crowd.

Comerford’s unerring free-taking kept the champions in touch though and when she converted from a tight angle, after Marie Dargan had equalised, they hit the front for the first time entering the final quarter.

Undoubtedly driven on by the pain of 12 months ago, the Shannonsiders hit back with three points.

The pacey Julia White set up Devane to put them ahead with just five minutes remaining, and then Devane slotted a free awarded for a foul on White. Jackman pulled one back from a free but time ran out on WIT this time and it was UL that prevailed by virtue of a 0-12 to 1-8 scoreline.