AN injury-time point from Ronan Carroll sealed Louth's passage to the final in Drogheda yesterday.
With extra-time looming, the midfielder finished off a sweeping move to register his fourth point of the afternoon.
Keeper Sean Connor was also a hero for Louth after his superb point-blank save from Ciaran Lyng in the final minute of normal time.
Having led by nine points at one stage in the first half, the hosts were ahead by the bare minimum when Connor stood tall to deny UCD a certain goal and, although Rob Kelly drew the students level in the first minute of injury-time, Carroll popped up at the death to book a tussle with Kildare next Sunday.
After an even opening 20 minutes, Louth started to gain a foothold when Shane Lennon made it 0-6 to 0-3 and two goals in the space of a minute shortly afterwards, seemed to spell big trouble for UCD.
The first came from Lennon, who beat Colin Ford to a Brian Donnelly shot that dropped well short of the target, and the big full-forward was involved again less than 60 seconds later as Mark Brennan drilled a superb volley past Michael Savage.
To their credit, UCD recovered well to reel off four points without reply before the break and they continued in that vein after the restart. Louth kept their noses in front until the 65th minute when John Heslin drew UCD level, and they were back on terms again through Kelly, after a Paddy Keenan free at the other end.
However, Connor's crucial save from Lyng came in between, giving Carroll the chance to win it for the hosts in injury-time.
SCORERS -- Louth: S Lennon 1-2 (0-2f), R Carroll 0-4, P Keenan 0-3 (0-2f), M Brennan 1-0, D Maguire 0-2. UCD: R Kelly 0-5 (0-3f), C Lyng 0-4 (0-2f), J McLoughlin 0-2, T Warburton, J Heslin, C Kenny, D Larkin, J Cocoman 0-1 each.
LOUTH -- S Connor; G Hoey, A Hoey, R Greene; R Finnegan, D Crilly, L Shevlin; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Byrne, M Brennan, B Donnelly; A Reid, S Lennon, D Maguire. Subs: J Murray for D Byrne (44), E McAuley (44), P Rath for R Greene (57).
UCD -- M Savage; J Hayes, C Ford, M Fitzsimons; C Brady, S Redmond, T Warburton; K McGourty, J Heslin; J McLoughlin, C Kenny, L Smith; C Lyng, R Kelly, D Larkin. Subs: M Brazil for D Larkin (40), J Cocoman for L Smith (50), M McGowan for T Warburton (50).
REF -- S Carroll (Westmeath).