The hosts led at the interval 1-3 to 0-4, courtesy of a clinically-finished goal by Michael Newman who carried on his good form in the tournament to date by taking a pass from Paul Cahillane and, showing good strength, held off Josh Hayes before sliding a shot under Michael McGinley.
Coming as it did after points from Cian Mullins, Seán Denvir and a long-range effort by man-of-the-match Tommy Moolick, it established a five-point advantage for John Divilly’s crew, who had fallen behind to an early Niall Kilroy point.
UCD finished the half strongly though, with the otherwise disappointing Donie Kingston,substitute Michael O’Regan and Kilroy (free) putting the game back in the melting pot.
Indeed the Belfield boys might well have led at half time but for a top-drawer save from Alan Giles in the 28th minute.
If one was left with the sense that the game hadn’t really taken off after that first half, it really came to the life after the resumption.
One of the game’s most significant moments arrived in the 37th minute, when Colm Murphy laid off the ball and then lashed out at Moolick, who had advanced to make a tackle.
Referee Derek Fahy had no hesitation in issuing a straight red card, and one presumes that it was this decision that angered UCD manager, Dave Billings so sufficiently to admonish Fahy in very unflattering fashion after the final whistle.
Certainly, UCD lost their shape as Maynooth absolutely dominated the next 10 minutes or so, making very clever use of their numerical advantage by retaining possession, drawing an opponent and laying off to a willing runner.
Niall Murray and Newman exchanged points before a well-worked one-two between Moolick and Newman ended with the Kildare man rocketing a shot to the roof of the UCD net from a tight angle in the 42nd minute.
Moolick was fouled on the edge of UCD’s square soon afterwards and Paul Cahillane popped over the resulting free. A fantastic point from David Quinn pushed Maynooth eight points clear and a cruise to victory looked inevitable.
UCD had a different idea though and a low finish to the Maynooth net by substitute David Larkin, after an intricate inter-passing movement six minutes from time put them back in it.
Suddenly, Billings’ men were galvanised and thanks to gaining an upper hand around midfield, poured forward with tremendous spirit.
James Califf did score a very important point for Maynooth but it was all UCD as Niall Murray and Giles (free) reduced the margin further before Connolly spectacularly tipped a low Giles shot just around his right upright.
Murray converted the subsequent 45 but time ran out on UCD and Maynooth progressed to a semi-final against UCC.
Scorers for NUIM: M Newman, T Moolick 1-1 each; J Califf 0-2(1f); S Denvir, C Mullins, P Cahillane (f), D Quinn 0-1 each
SCorers for UCD: N Murray 0-3(1 45); D Larkin 1-0; N Kilroy 0-2(1f); D Kingston, M O’Regan, A Giles (f) 0-1 each
NUIM: S Connolly (Kildare); K O’Brien (Kildare), K Lynch (Meath), D Dalton (Meath); T Moolick (Kildare), J McDermott (Dublin), S Denvir (Galway); C Berrigan (Meath), C Brophy (Kildare); J Califf (Louth), S Hurley (Kildare), C Mullins (Dublin); M Newman (Meath), P Cahillane (Laois), D Quinn (Dublin).
Subs: S Fahey (Kildare) for Hurley inj (13); G McIntyre (Dublin) for Berrigan (40); A Walsh (Kerry) for Mullins (44); S O’Hanlon (Louth) for Quinn (53)
UCD: M McGinley (Donegal); M Furlong (Wexford), J Hayes (Cavan), C Forde (Galway); C Barrett (Mayo), Rory O’Carroll (Dublin), S Redmond (Carlow); M Coughlan (Dublin), C Murphy (Dublin); C Dias (Dublin), L Smith (Westmeath), C Carthy (Wexford); N Kilroy (Roscommon), D Kingston (Laois), A Giles (Westmeath).
Subs: M O’Regan (Wexford) for Smith (19); N Murray for Carthy (37); M O’Hanlon (Wexford) for Kingston (44); M Duffy (Monaghan) for Barrett; D Larkin (Meath) for Kilroy (51)
Referee: D Fahy (Longford.