Having beaten Waterford IT and IT Carlow, even with a defeat here UCC would still have topped the group on a head-to-head tie-break. Such an event was unlikely, and so it proved, even without Cork’s Conor Lehane and Tipp panellist James Barry.
The visitors’ tough task was made nigh-impossible by the second-minute sending-off of full-back James Kelly, and though Willie Griffin opted to point the resultant 20m free, goals soon followed for UCC. First, Shane O’Donnell touched home Rob O’Shea’s handpass beyond goalkeeper Stevie Russell after the wing-forward had made a surging run, and then Griffin added a solo goal of his own.
With a 2-2 to 0-0 lead and not even 10 minutes elapsed, the outcome was decided, but there was no let-up from the hosts. O’Shea added a third goal and Griffin and Jamie Ahern helped to keep the points flowing, a pair of Jack McGrath frees the only response, leaving it 3-14 to 0-2 at half-time.
Griffin got his second and UCC’s fourth green flag early in the second period and it took a good Cillian Fennessy block to stop O’Donnell doubling his tally, while Russell also made some good stops.
UCC saved the best for last in terms of goals as corner-back Patrick O’Sullivan picked the ball up in midfield and sauntered past countless challenges before firing the ball into the top corner for a 5-20 to 0-2 lead.
St Pat’s did respond well after that with an unanswered 1-4, McGrath with the points and midfielder Eoghan O’Neill getting the goal. A strong UCC finish ensured that they won by 31 points, however, setting up a home quarter-final against UCD next week.
Scorers for UCC: W Griffin 2-10 (five frees), J Ahern 0-6, R O’Shea 1-1, P O’Sullivan, S O’Donnell 1-0 each, B Murray 0-2, P Deasy, T Butler, M Sugrue, J Barron, B Lawton, C Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Patrick’s/Mater Dei: J McGrath 0-6 (four frees), E O’Neill 1-0.
UCC (Cork unless stated): D McCarthy; D Lester, D Glynn (Kilkenny), P O’Sullivan; P Prendergast (Waterford), C Spillane, C Murphy; B Murray, J Barron (Waterford); D Roche, B Lawton, R O’Shea; W Griffin (Limerick), S O’Donnell (Clare), J Ahern (Limerick).
Subs: S Roche (Waterford) for Murray, M Sugrue for Lawton, T Butler (Tipperary) for Barron, P Deasy for O’Shea (all half-time), T Wallace for McCarthy (42).
ST PATRICK’S/MATER DEI: S Russell (Tipperary); R O’Hanrahan (Kilkenny), J Kelly (Meath), C Fennessy (Clare); D Flaherty (Dublin), P Butler (Kilkenny), C Wafer (Kilkenny); N Maguire (Dublin), E O’Neill (Dublin); K Ryan (Wexford), R Peacock (Laois), J McGrath (Kilkenny); P Walshe (Kilkenny), D Martin-Carroll (Wexford), E Morrissey (Kilkenny).
Subs: C Joyce (Kilkenny) for Peacock, E McIntyre (Tipperary) for Walshe (both 38).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).