It took more than two-and-a-half hours and 10 spot kicks for the visitors to eventually sink the UCC ship, with Jake Corrigan’s penalty finally ending it.
Under clear blue skies, both sides struggled to get a foot in the game early on, and Darragh Lucey’s miscued volley from Cian Murphy’s deep cross was the hosts’ only early chance. At the other end, Chris McIlloaine almost managed to squeeze one inside the far post from a corner before Charlie Borenman had to have his angles right to gather John McKeown’s cross come shot.
McKeown was profiting on some sloppy fouls by the home team and putting in some dangerous free-kicks; Darragh Gannon inches away from applying an almost certain finishing touch at the back post before half-time.
UCC’s indiscipline in their own territory was gifting the visitors some golden opportunities, and only a fine save by Borenman denied McKeown from opening the scoring 36 minutes from a set piece.
Maynooth switched to a more aerial plan in the second period, trying to catch UCC’s defence on the turn, with mixed success; one such attack caused some nervous moments in the home defence as Borenman didn’t properly clear a Sean Noble cross, and a few key blocks denied McKeown and Stephen Dunne getting efforts in.
The Leesiders had their best chance to take the lead about 20 minutes from time, when Sean O’Callaghan’s cross found Daniel Pender, whose effort was scooped over by Michael Kelly in the Maynooth goal.
Andy Gannon could have counted himself lucky not to have conceded a penalty five minutes from regular time, as his hand appeared to deny Dylan Kavanagh a chance at goal while moments later UCC’s McLoughlin bailed out his keeper by heading Jake Corrigan’s lob off the line with Borenman stranded.
With seconds remaining Dunne’s inch-perfect cross was headed just over by substitute Ciarán Ryan from six yards out.
NUI Maynooth picked up from where they left off in extra time, and UCC keeper Borenman was again called into action to deny Corrigan’s powerful effort.
However that was the extra period’s only real chance, and after a missed penalty on each side, Daniel Pender put his spot kick wide to setup Corrigan to secure Maynooth’s place in the semi-final.
Joining them will be UCD, who also took penalties to defeat Queens University at The Farm, eventually winning 8-7 on penalties.
University of Limerick and Trinity will join them in the second semi-final after UL won 2-1 after extra-time against Mary Immaculate in a Shannonside derby.
A late Ronan Hanaphy goal secured Trinity’s place, beating Dublin rivals DCU 1-0.
Earlier in the day NUI Galway were victorious in the Spillane Cup, beating Mary Immaculate College 2-1 in what turned out to be the group’s final.