Operating at left half forward, the Cork senior showed his worth as an attacker, notching four excellent points from play as UCC reversed a first round defeat at the hands of their arch rivals.
Despite featuring a host of players who figured in last year's All-Ireland final, this game never got off the ground and only the closeness of the scores kept the big crowd interested.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody was given plenty of food for thought on his way to the Marble County after watching two of his county players. UCC captain Tommy Walsh played extremely well as a forward and John Tennyson was rock solid at corner back.
Likewise, the Cork senior selectors present may well be tempted to give Tom Kenny a run-out as a forward in the upcoming National Hurling League after he played exceptionally well in an attacking role.
Kenny got UCC off to the perfect start with the first of his four points after 50 seconds, but they were rocked by a Stephen P O'Sullivan goal five minutes later, despite the best efforts of UCC keeper Richie O'Neill.
That goal kept CIT in front for most of the first half before Tommy Walsh levelled the game for the first time in the 20th minute. In an effort to try and contain Tom Kenny CIT switched his intercounty colleague John Gardiner back on him, but the UCC man continued to sparkle, landing a super point from midfield.
Exchanges were extremely keen, which resulted in few scoring chances, but the half ended in a welter of excitement as Muiris O'Sullivan pointed two frees for CIT and Kenny and Ray Ryan had a point each for the home side which left CIT 1-6 to 0-7 in front at the interval.
UCC improved greatly on their first half display after half-time and when Mark O'Connor took over the free-taking duties he pointed three in a row, which gave his side a lead they weren't to lose.
Play continued to be very scrappy as both teams failed to come to grips with the hard ground and the biting cold. CIT's defence, in which David Gardiner and Brian Murphy gave nothing away, survived a scare when Rory O'Doherty broke through, but great covering by the backs prevented him getting in a shot.
Only the accuracy of Muiris O'Sullivan kept CIT in touch and his point in the 45th minute had the sides level for a third time. Even with 15 minutes remaining extra time was very much in the offing, but UCC upped the tempo and with Richie Flannery and Evan Hanley doing well, points by Mark O'Connor and Tom Kenny put the home side two to the good.
All credit to CIT, who threw everything at UCC in the closing minutes in the hope of winning their first title at this level, but they wasted three great chances to at least level the game before time finally ran out on them.
Scorers: UCC: T. Kenny, M. O'Connor (frees) 0-4 each; M. Rice, P. O'Brien, J. Fitzpatrick, T. Walsh 0-1 each.
CIT: SP O'Sullivan 1-1; M. O'Sullivan 0-4 (frees); C. O'Leary, M. Fennelly, R. Ryan 0-1 each.
UCC: R. O'Neill; J. Tennyson, C. Hickey, D. McSweeney; K. Hartnett, R. Flannery, E. Hanley; R. McGregor, M. Rice; T. Walsh, M. O'Connor, T. Kenny; J. Fitzpatrick, R. O'Doherty, P. O'Brien. Subs. S. O'Neill for Fitzpatrick; M. Whelan for McGregor.
CIT: M. Coleman; E. O'Sullivan, B. Murphy, B. O'Sullivan; V. Hurley, D. Gardiner, J. Fleming; J. Gardiner, M. Fennelly; G. McLoughlin, M. O'Sullivan, C. O'Leary; R. Ryan, SP O'Sullivan, SR O'Sullivan. Subs. M. Prout for SR O'Sullivan; N. Teehan for Prout; J. Dixon for Hurley; R. Maher O'Leary; B. Johnson for McLoughlin.
Referee: D. Kirwan (Éire Óg).