In the all-Limerick semi-final, the defending champions proved too strong for LIT, who were punished for almost every infringement by the deadly accurate Limerick man.
Paul Killeen kept LIT in touch with his own haul from placed balls, while Peter Duggan also added a couple of late frees, but the dream of back-to-back is still alive for the trainee teachers.
LIT were the side that started the brighter though, and they lead early on thanks to PaulKilleen’s second minute free.
A super sideline cut from Darragh O’Donovan soon levelled matters, but from there it was all about Gillane’s free taking. He struck three in quick succession to push his side 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the fifth minute and after David Dempsey and Killeen responded for LIT, Gillane made it 0-5 to 0-3 with his fourth soon after.
Killeen was also an impressive free taker for the eventual losers, and he tapped over three in a row between the 11th and 18th minutes to give his side the advantage once more.
Colm Galvin levelled matters again with a good point on the run, and Mary I upped their intensity before the break as Gillane added another couple of points to give them a 0-8 to 0-7 lead.
Gillane was denied a goal from a penalty after a super save from Eibhear Quinn just before the break, but Galvin ensured Mary I’s dominance continued after the restart with his second score of the game.
Kileen responded with a point for LIT, who were determined to hang on to their coattails, but Mary I took a huge step towards victory with a powerful four minutes where they hit four of the next five points – three of which came from Gillane for a 0-14 to 0-9 lead.
From there to the finish it was a case of Mary I taking their scoring chances, and Gillane was unflappable under pressure. And when he drilled over a huge free from his own 65 he gave his side a seven-point cushion with five minutes remaining.
Peter Duggan weighed in with two frees late on and Sean Ryan saw his shot diverted over the bar by Ronan Maher, but that was it for LIT as Mary I eased their way into the final.
A Gillane 0-12 (10f, 1’65), C Galvin 0-3, D O’Donovan 0-1 (1’sl), R Maher 0-1, M O’Neill 0-1, S Cahill 0-1.
P Killeen 0-7 (7f), P Duggan 0-2 (2f), W Connors 0-2, D Dempsey 0-1, J McCarthy 0-1 (1f), S Ryan 0-1.
Ciaran Barrett (Tipperary); David Sweeney (Tipperary), Richard English (Limerick), Eoin Quirke (Clare); Conor Twomey (Cork), Ronan Maher (Tipperary), Alan Flynn (Tipperary); Colm Galvin (Clare), Stephen Cahill (Tipperary); Darragh O’Donovan (Limerick), Michael O’Neill (Clare), Aaron Gillane (Limerick); Luke Meade (Cork), Cian Lynch (Limerick), Tadhg Gallagher (Tipperary).
Thomas Monaghan (Galway) for Gallagher (39), Colm Stapleton (Laois) for English (44).
Eibhear Quilligan (Clare); Oisin O’Brien (Clare), Kieran Bennett (Waterford), Cian Nolan (Clare); Willie Ryan (Tipperary), Barry O’Connell (Limerick), Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick); David Reidy (Clare), Willie Connors (Tipperary); Paul Killeen (Galway), Peter Duggan (Clare), Shane Bennett (Waterford); Jamie Shanahan (Clare), Jason McCarthy (Clare), David Dempsey (Limerick).
Sean Ryan (Tipperary) for Bennett (41), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave for Connors (53), Michael O’Malley for McCarthy (53), Sean Burke for O’Neill (54).
Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).