NUIGalway were wasteful when they failed to score two gift goal chances in the first half including one miss from Sean Brogan at the end of the opening quarter. With this let off ITSligo went on to dominate effectively the second quarter and were so close to actually closing out the game only for five wides in the last ten minutes of the half. Cathal Hennelly (2), Joe Reilly and Sean Meehan were all on target with points before ITSligo struck what appeared to many present to be a double hammerblow to NUIGalway with two goals in as many minutes.
Firstly, Phillip Patton blasted past Jason Barrett in the NUIGalway goal then in the next attack as NUIGalway were recovering Ciaran Walsh raced clear to score as ITSligo surged ten points clear, (2-8) to (0-4) entering the final five minutes of the first half. It was now critical for a response from NUIGalway to make the second half competitive and respond they did with (1-2) as the goal came from bustling full forward Sean Brogan as Conor Marsden kicked a brace of frees to leave ITSligo (2-8) to (1-6) clear at the break.
The speed of the movement in the first half appeared to take its toll on ITSligo as they were very much on the backfoot for the second half despite scoring the opening point of the new half courtesy of Phillip Patton (free). With ten minutes of the restart NUIGalway had drawn level with (1-3) as Ryan Forde showed a tremendous turn of pace to score a wonderful goal. Conor Marsden, Jamie Smith and Gerry Canavan with the equaliser left the side deadlocked on (2-9) apiece entering the final 15 minutes.
ITSligo were now on the backfoot and defended well against NUIGalway who took the lead from Sean Brogan and extended it with Conor Dolan in the 50th minute. Conor Marsden who excelled scored his sixth point in the 57th minute as ITSligo now required a goal to force extra time at the Connacht GAA centre. Try as they might they managed just two points before James Dowd had the final score for NUIGalway to seal the title for Kevin McKittrick and Pat McHale's men.
Best for the winners were Ryan Forde, James Dowd, Conor Dolan, Conor Marsden, Sean Brogan, Cormac O'Hora, Jason Barrett, Michael Naughton. ITSligo worked hard with strong performances from Phillip Patton, Ryan Phillips, Sean Meehan, Jeff Howley, Tom McGing, Cathal Hennelly and Hugh Moy.
NUIGALWAY: Jason Barrett (Balla, Mayo), Shane Fox (Ballymahon, Longford), Rioch Farrell (Carrickedmond, Longford), Conor Burke (Burrishoole), Paddy Connaughton (Ballinamore SOH), Cormac O Hora (O Dempseys, Laois), Michael Naughton (Annaghdown, Galway) Hugh Broderick (St Lomans, Westmeath)(Capt), Evan Cawley (Shrule/Glencorrib, Mayo), James Dowd (Louisburgh, Mayo)(0-2), Conor Marsden (Kilconly, Galway)(0-6), Conor Dolan (Manorhamilton, Leitrim)(0-1), Eoin Mulkerrin (Castlebar Mitchels, Mayo), Sean Brogan (Westport, Mayo)(1-2), Ryan Forde (Annaghdown, Galway)(1-0).
SUBS: Martin Loftus (Parke, Mayo) for Shane Fox, Jamie Smith (Tyholland, Monaghan)(0-1) for Hugh Broderick, Graham Gallagher (Kill, Kildare), for Paddy Connaughton, Gerry Canavan (Mayo Gaels, Mayo)(0-1) for Eoin Mulkerrin, Evan Concarr (Oran, Roscommon) for Evan Cawley.
ITSLIGO: Tom McGing, Shane McLoughlin, Jeff Howley, Cillian McCahey, Conor Browne, Hugh Moy, Michael Rafferty, Jody Reilly (0-1), Darragh Bourke, Phillip Patton (1-3), Cathal Hennelly (0-3), Gearoid Gallagher, Ryan Phillips (0-2), Evan Broderick, Sean Meehan (0-2).
Sub: Niall O Dowd for E Broderick, Darragh Kilcoyne for G Gallagher, Bryan Walsh for Hennelly (inj), Ciaran Walsh (1-0) for Bourke, Ryan McKenna for Phillips.
After the game the Fresher League cup was presented to NUIGalway captain Hugh Broderick by Third level representative Enda Fallon.
Back Row Left to Right- Jack McGarry(Injured), Kevin McKittrick, Gerry Canavan, Ríoch Farrell, Conor Dolan, Evan Cawley, Conor Smyth, Gavin Moore, Martin Loftus, Jason Barrett, George Bradley, Sean Brogan, Evan Concarr, Shane Fox, Cormac O'Hora, Michael Naughton, Pat McHale.
Front Row Left to Right- Conor Marsden, Ryan Forde, James Dowd, Conor Burke, Gavin Calpin, Hugh Broderick, Graham Gallagher, Eoin Mulkerrin, Ben Roberts, Paddy Connaughton, Jamie Smith, Brian Daly, Matthew Creighton.