POINTS from Rory Jacob and substitute Ray McLoughney late in the second half of extra time proved to be the difference.
The huge crowd which had left after the UCC and UCD game missed out on a magnificent contest that ebbed and flowed all through and the real pity was there had to be a winner in the end.
A place in today's final looked to be Galway's after Peter O'Brien had the game's only goal seconds into the first half of extra time, but the experienced WIT outfit, who were contesting their seventh semi-final in a row, pulled through in the finish.
WIT team coach Colm Bonner was thrilled but it was mixed with a tremendous sense of relief.
"We had it won, lost it, had it won again and again lost, and when Galway went two points clear in extra time it looked as if we had blown it," said Bonner.
"All credit then to our lads who kept plugging away and in the end we got a couple of great points to win it, but it's hard luck on Galway. They deserved something out of that game for the effort they put in."
Over the 75 odd minutes the game looked like developing into a personal scoring dual between NUIG's Tipperary player Dara Egan and Rory Jacob of WIT and Wexford.
NUIG will point to the decision to take Dara Egan, who had scored five first-half points, from full forward and move him to the half forward line as the reason they lost.
NUIG were full value for their 0-6 to 0-3 lead after 15 minutes, which might have been more but for a great save by WIT 'keeper Philip Brennan from Peter O'Brien.
Egan's magnificent point-scoring ensured his side held that three-point advantage but WIT finished the half strongly and the sides were level on 0-9 apiece at the break.
They were still tied at 0-12 each by the end of the third quarter, but significantly, Egan's free-taking wasn't as good as it had been and he missed a few which might have made a difference.
The inevitable extra time was called for after Peter O'Brien hit over the equalising point for Galway a minute from the end of normal time.
In the first period of extra time Jacob scored three of his side's four points to lead 0-19 to 0-17 at the break.
Seconds after the restart the game took a dramatic turn in Galway's favour when a shot by O'Brien looked to be going over the bar until the WIT 'keeper tried to stop the point but could only turn the sliotar into his own net.
When Egan added a point, Galway looked to have broken the WIT challenge. But WIT came storming back before Jacob pointed from out on the touch line to edge his side in front again - a lead which they didn't relinquish.
: WIT: R Jacob 0-8 (0-4 frees, 0-1 65); B Dowling 0-5 (0-3 frees); W Ryan, E Reid 0-4 each; R McLoughney 0-2; W Walsh 0-1.
: D Egan 0-11 (0-8 frees, 0-1 65); P O'Brien 1-3; F Coone, D Barrett, D Kenny, K Hayes, C Lafferty 0-1 each.
: P Brennan; K Rossiter, K Moran, A Kirwan; D Hoctor, K Brady, H Moloney; C O'Brien, M Walsh; C Phelan, A Cullinane, E Reid; B Dowling; W Ryan, R Jacob. Subs: G Mahon for C O'Brien; R McLoughney for Dowling; P Hanratty for Cullinane; C Parlon for Ryan.
: D Woods; P Whyte, M Ryan, G O'Grady; J Dunphy, J Lee, D Shannon; D Kelly, S Molumphy; F Coone, D Barrett, C Lafferty; D Kenny, D Egan, P O'Brien. Subs: K Hayes for Coone; C Ryan for Kenny; T Mannion for Dunphy; F Coone for C Ryan.
: J Sexton (Limerick).