A tally of 1-5 from Nemo Rangers’ Barry O’Driscoll was central to UCC’s victory, his first-half penalty putting them ahead for the first time and, while CIT did pull level on a couple of occasions in the second half, they were unable to get ahead of their opponents.
The fault for the home side ultimately losing could not be laid at the feet of Ciarán Sheehan, one of six Cork panellists on show, as the Éire Óg man scored four fine points from centre-forward, while Aidan Walsh weighed in with two.
Despite Walsh forming a strong midfield pairing with Waterford’s Sean O’Hare, they were matched by Mark Collins and Kevin O’Driscoll.
Both impressed for UCC, helping to switch the momentum of the game in the first half after CIT got the first two points.
While Bart Daly and Stephen O’Brien drew UCC level, Andrew O’Brien handed the initiative back to CIT before the first-half turning point, Stephen O’Brien reacting when Mike Griffin’s point effort hit the post only to be fouled, with O’Driscoll nailing the penalty for a 1-2 to 0-3 lead and by the break they were 1-4 to 0-5 points in front.
Excellent points from Sheehan (two) and Walsh provided a good start to the second half for CIT but UCC were moving the ball well and incisive running at the CIT defence was resulting in scoreable frees, which O’Driscoll and O’Brien were converting with ease.
Sheehan’s wonder point in the 50th minute, somehow creating space when seemingly bottled up after a Walsh pass, levelled at 0-10 to 1-7, but two more O’Driscoll frees and one from Griffin meant UCC led by a goal as the game moved into injury time.
Andrew O’Brien cut the gap with a long-range free and then got another chance closer in after an O’Hare pass. He went for goal but his shot fizzed over, UCC holding possession well for the remainder to top the group.
Scorers for CIT: A O’Brien 0-5 (0-3 frees); C Sheehan 0-4; A Walsh 0-2; W O’Mahony 0-1.
Scorers for UCC: B O’Driscoll 1-5 (1-0 penalty, 0-5 frees); S O’Brien 0-2 (0-1 free); K O’Driscoll, B Daly, M Griffin 0-1 each.
CIT: B Walsh (St Oliver Plunkett’s); M Griffin (St Michael’s/Foilmore, Kerry), S O’Donoghue (Ballincollig), R O’Dwyer (St Finbarr’s); P Minihane (Ilen Rovers), B O’Regan (Nemo Rangers), P Daly (St Mary’s); S O’Hare (Ballinacourty, Waterford), A Walsh (Kanturk); C O’Brien (Nemo Rangers), C Sheehan (Éire Óg), Conor O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers); D Óg Hodnett (O’Donovan Rossa), A O’Brien (Kildorrery), W O’Mahony (Clann na nGael).
Subs: R Power (Aghada) for O’Brien (23, injured), M Dowling (The Heath, Laois) for Walsh (half-time), S O’Neill (Bantry Blues) for O’Dwyer (38, injured), J Dineen (Éire Óg) for O’Mahony (54).
UCC: D Farry (Nemo Rangers); L Jennings (Ballincollig), J O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), D Óg O’Donovan (St Nicholas); P Crowley (Laune Rangers, Kerry), A Greaney (St Pat’s Blennerville, Kerry), B Daly (Newmarket); M Collins (Castlehaven), K O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCárthaigh’s); M Griffin (Na Gaeil, Kerry), S Kiely (Macroom), JB Spillane (Castlegregory); S O’Brien (Kenmare, Kerry), B O’Driscoll (Nemo Rangers), P Honohan (Bishopstown).
Referee: J Dorgan (Nemo Rangers).