The victory sets up a semi-final next Sunday against the winners of the midweek Clare/Limerick replay.
Ryan said afterwards: “I was delighted with our first-half performance but there was much to concern me after the interval, especially the way we conceded the last quarter of an hour to the students.
“There’s a lot to work to be done and we will definitely need to improve our overall play if we are to progress.”
UCC lined out with just three of the side which scored a resounding Fitzgibbon Cup victory over DCU earlier in the week, and for most of the opening half they played second best to the home side. All credit to them however for effective half-time substitutions, particularly the introduction of Shane Bourke and William Griffin, and the students were generally in control of the final 15 minutes.
With the Waterford half-back trio of Jamie Nagle, Kevin Moran, and Shane O’Sullivan in command, it was virtually one-way trafficin the opening half. They eased into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead after a quarter of an hour, scoring quality points, and their goal in the 20th minute put them firmly in command.
The clinical finish came from new team captain Michael “Brick’’ Walsh who revelled in his restoration to the attack. It came after some great work by the other Walsh, Shane, who delivered a pinpoint pass to the skipper.
Further goals followed by Martin O’Neill in the 29th minute and a superb one from Maurice Shanahan two minutes before the break with the skipper acting as provider this time.
Waterford were a comfortable 11 points to the good, 3-10 to 0-8, at the interval. However, the students never threw in the towel and substitutes Burke and Griffin impacted positively on the proceedings. They clipped over some fine points, most notably an absolute peach from midfielder Seamas Corry, and with Brian Hartnett’s influence also strengthening the students all but encamped in Waterford’s half.
It was Hartnett’s well-taken goal in the 68th minute that gave the final scoreline the measure of respectability that the students fully deserved.
Waterford still had the final say with Shane O’Sullivan’s delightful free from over 90m sailing between the posts.
Scorers for Waterford: M. O’Neill (1-8, 0-7 frees); M. Walsh (1-3); M. Shanahan (1-0); S. O’Sullivan(0-2); S. Prendergast, S. Walsh, D. Twomey, S. Molumphy, J. Nagle, P. O’Brien(0-1) each.
Scorers for UCC: B. Hartnett(1-2); P. O’Mahony (0-5, 0-4 frees); B. O’Sullivan (0-3); W. Griffin(0-3, frees); S. Bourke (0-2); P. Haughney, E. O’Sullivan, D. McCormack, S. Corry (0-1) each.
WATERFORD: I. O’Regan; P. Prendergast. C. Ryan. A. Kearney; J. Nagle. K. Moran. S. O’Sullivan; S. Molumphy. D. Twomey; M. Shanahan. M. Walsh. S. Prendergast; M. O’Neill. S. Walsh. B. O’Halloran.
Subs: P. O’Brien for Walsh (HT);D. Prendergast for P. Prendergast(58); P. Nevin for Twomey (58); T. Ryan for Shanahan, inj(63).
UCC: P. O’Brien (Cork); T. Curran (Waterford). Pat O’Mahony (Cork). D. Fives (Waterford); J Barry (Tipperary). J Nagle (Cork). A. Hannigan (Tipperary); S. Corry (Cork). B. Collins (Cork); D. McCormack (Tipperary). B Murray (Cork). Pauric Mahony (Waterford); P. Haughney (Cork). B. O’Sullivan (Waterford). B. Hartnett (Cork).
Subs: S Bourke (Tipperary) for Collins (34 mins); W. Egan for Nagle (HT); S. Maher (Tipperary) for Hannigan (HT); W. Griffin for Haughney (HT); E. O’Sullivan for Pauric Mahony (64).
Referee; Shane Hourigan, Limerick.