Early points from Conor Sheridan and Paul Mannion (a free) had UCD two points to the good before Ger Egan’s fifth-minute penalty for AIT was brilliantly saved by Eoghan Keogh.
Tit-for-tat scoring had the Dublin college a point ahead before the home team took the lead for the first time in the 28th minute, when James Dolan drilled the ball low under the diving Keogh. However, a brace of excellent points from Mark Hughes and John Heslin had UCD on level terms at the break (0-7 to 1-4).
Heslin was in superb form on the turnover and the Westmeath man kicked three (including one free) of his side’s unanswered five points in the opening six minutes of the half, with half-time substitute Ryan Basquel and Mark Hughes accounting for the other two.
The lead was seven points (0-14 to 1-4) by the end of the third quarter and there was no way back for AIT from that point, despite substitute Shane Quinn pulling on the loose ball to find the net with 11 minutes remaining. Another replacement, Colm O’Brien added a point for AIT two minutes later.
UCD’s Jack McCaffrey then came into his stride with two fine points, either side of another sublime score from Heslin.
Cathal Shine tried to blast a third goal for the Athlone college from a free in the dying moments, but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Scorers for UCD: J Heslin 0-7 (1f), P Mannion 0-3 (2f), M Hughes, J McCaffrey 0-2 each, C Sheridan, R Basquel, J Maloney 0-1 each.
AIT: J Dolan, S Quinn 1-0 each, G Egan 0-3 (3f), K Martin 0-2 (1f), C O’Brien, C Shine (f) 0-1 each.
UCD: E Keogh (Laois); R Wylie (Monaghan), R McDaid (Dublin), R Tierney (Wexford); C Lenehan (Meath), P Harnan (Meath), J McCaffrey (Dublin); M O’Hanlon (Wexford), C Sheridan (Meath); M Hughes (Longford), J Heslin (Westmeath), B Fenton (Dublin); P Mannion (Dublin), J Maloney (Offaly), P Kingston (Laois). Subs: P Reilly (Louth) for Sheridan (h-t), R Basquel (Dublin) for Kingston (h-t), C Downey (Meath) for O’Hanlon (50), S McEntee (Meath) for Reilly (52, BC), J Hayes (Cavan) for Hughes (58).
AIT: G Connaughton (Westmeath); J Donoghue (Westmeath), D Farley (Longford), E Kerin (Galway); L Murphy (Cavan), G Egan (Westmeath), T Mooney (Offaly); C Duggan (Galway), C Shine (Roscommon); A Caul (Dublin), K Martin (Westmeath), A Coffey (Westmeath); C Fitzgerald (Kerry), J Dolan (Westmeath), J Mulligan (Leitrim). Subs: S Quinn (Leitrim) for Caul (37), C O’Brien (Galway) for Murphy (45), A Stone (Westmeath) for Coffey (50).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).