COLM Bonnar hailed his Waterford IT battlers following this hard-earned victory against their old rivals.
The former Tipp star and ex-Wexford boss stepped into the breach late last year when WIT were searching for a manager.
Bonnar has been involved in six Fitzgibbon Cup successes for WIT – five as coach, plus one in 1995 when he was team captain.
And Bonnar admitted that the lure of returning was too strong when he was asked back.
"They were in trouble – they had nobody for the start of the league," he recalled. "We didn't do much in the league and finished up in a relegation semi-final. But the Fitzgibbon takes on a life of its own.
"One year, we didn't win a game coming into the Fitzgibbon. That was in 2008 – and you know what happened from there..."
Five years ago, WIT beat Davy Fitzgerald's Limerick IT in a classic final.
And yesterday, Bonnar's boys came up trumps again at a bitterly cold WIT sports campus in Carriganore.
By the 16th minute, the Waterford college were 0-10 to 0-2 clear and making hay with a stiff breeze at their backs.
But Jamie Fitzgibbon finished a brilliant team move in the 27th minute for the only goal of the game and LIT were back in touch at half-time, though trailing by 0-12 to 1-6.
It was an acceptable deficit for the 2005 and 2007 winners, for whom Tipperary's Seamus Callanan contributed 0-8 overall.
But in that opening period Callanan was held to just a single point from play and, then, WIT played smart hurling after the break, with Noel Connors, Ciaran Haugh and Wayne Hutchinson stand-out players in defence.
Eoin Murphy emerged as WIT's leading scorer once again as Kilkenny's 2012 All-Ireland winning sub-goalkeeper bagged 0-9 following last week's 1-8 haul against CIT.
Waterford pair Jake Dillon and Gavin O'Brien were also excellent in the WIT full-forward line, scoring three points each.
Wexford's Harry Kehoe made a valuable contribution, too, as he flashed over a brace of first-half points.
Scorers – WIT: E Murphy 0-9 (7f), J Dillon, G O'Brien 0-3 each, C Haugh, H Kehoe 0-2 each, T Hamill, M Power 0-1 each. LIT: S Callanan 0-8 (7f), J Fitzgibbon 1-0, C McInerney 0-2, A Fahy (f), E O'Sullivan, S Collins, S O'Brien 0-1 each.
WIT– S O'Keeffe; S O'Keeffe, L Lawlor, N Connors; C Haugh, W Hutchinson, T Hamill; L Harney, S Roche; H Kehoe, M Sheedy, E Murphy; M O'Neill, J Dillon, G O'Brien. Subs: P Mahony for Harney (29), M Power for O'Neill (h-t), L McGrath for Sheedy (60+1).
LIT – A Fahy; A Dempsey, P Begley, C Barrett; P Ahern, P O'Brien, P Flaherty; S Collins, C Nelson; J Fitzgibbon, C McInerney, G Guilfoyle; E O'Sullivan, S O'Brien, S Callanan. Subs: J O'Keeffe for Nelson (44), N O'Connor for Ahern (57).
Ref – A Stapleton (Laois).