A second-half hat-trick by Niall Burke proved decisive as NUIG defeated a wasteful Westmeath side on the all-weather pitch at St Loman's Lakepoint Park, Mullingar.
Limerick's Kevin Downes was also in top-scoring form for NUIG, as was Niall O'Brien for Westmeath. NUIG displayed their ruthless streak to win comfortably in the end, but Westmeath will rue a poor attacking performance.
The home team shot no less than 20 wides over the course of the game, 13 of them in the first half, at the end of which they still led the students by 0-9 to 0-8.
That profligacy eventually came back to haunt Westmeath, though, as Burke stepped up to turn the game completely on its head.
The sides were tied at 0-13 each when Burke struck the first of his three goals in the 57th minute and NUIG always looked the likely winners from that moment on.
The Galway player was in electric form and he pounced for further goals in the 63rd and 67th minutes to seal a flattering win for his team, who now face Kilkenny in the next round.
Scorers –NUIG: N Burke 3-5 (5f), K Downes 0-7, A Cunningham, J Cooney, S McCormack 0-1 each. Westmeath: N O'Brien 0-9 (6f), J Shaw 0-3 (2f), D McNicholas, R Greville 0-2 each.
NUIG – D Tuohy; D Magner, O Fahy, D Burke; L Markham, B Flaherty, S McCormack; E Glynn, B Lane; N Deasy, J Cooney, K Downes; A Cunningham, N Burke, G Donoghue. Subs: B Harkin for Markham (h-t), O Teagle for Harkin (67).
Westmeath – P Maloney; P Fennell, P Greville, T Gallagher; D Fennell, A McGrath, E Price; S Power, J Clarke; D McNicholas, N O'Brien, R Greville; J Boyle, J Shaw, K Glennon. Subs: B Lehart for Boyle (h-t), M Keegan for Gallagher (50), B O'Mara for Glennon (62).
Ref – T Carroll (Offaly).