Bobby Duggan was the star of the show, scoring 12 points for NUIG as they bounced back from their opening day defeat to UL.
UCC led 0-11 to 0-10 at the break with Conor Lehane and John Power impressing. But NUIG were deserving of their victory after a strong second-half performance inspired by the excellent Duggan.
The Clarecastle man was delighted with his team’s performance: “We needed a big performance today after the way we played the last day. I’m just delighted that we managed to do it,” he said.
UCC had plenty of inter-county players on show but they wasted chances in the first-half. Despite hitting a few wides, they led 0-15 to 0-13 with 20 minutes remaining.
But NUIG scored six unanswered points in seven second half minutes to put them in the driving seat.
Lehane was the pick of UCC’s performers, racking up nine points, and he levelled the match with three minutes remaining. But Duggan’s long-range free and Niall O’Brien’s late point from play put the Galway side two points up with a minute left.
UCC bombarded the NUIG defence in the final minute and Lehane was desperately unlucky not to have won it for UCC as his shot from a narrow angle rattled the crossbar before being cleared by NUIG.
This result means this group won’t be decided until after the final round of matches.
UCC face group-toppers UL while NUIG face bottom side GMIT.
Scorers for NUIG: B Duggan 0-12 (0-7f); N O’Brien 0-4; E Brannigan 0-1, K Ryan 0-1, G Hennelly 0-1, C Mannion 0-1, B O’Connor 0-1.
Scorers for UCC: C Lehane 0-9 (0-5f, 1 sl, 1’65); J Power 0-4; B Lawton 0-3 (0-3f), S O’Donnell 0-1, A Cadogan 0-1, A Spillane 0-1.
NUIG (Galway unless otherwise stated): J Griffey (Clare); C Diviney, J Hanbury, R Lane; S Cooney, C Cleary (Clare), S Hynes; E Brannigan, P Mannion; K Ryan, N O’Brien (Westmeath), B Duggan (Clare); G Hennelly, C Mannion, S Ward (Clare).
Subs: G Fennelly (Tipperary) for Lane (33), S Dooley (Tipperary) for Ryan (35), B O’Connor (Limerick) for Ward (40).
UCC (Cork unless otherwise stated): D O’Gorman; K Burke, D Glynn (Kilkenny), M Breen (Tipperary); T Devine (Waterford), T Burke (Waterford), S Roche (Waterford); D Roche, R O’Shea; J Barron (Waterford), B Lawton, C Lehane; J Power (Kilkenny), S O’Donnell (Clare), A Cadogan.
Subs: A Spillane for Lawton (h-t), C Murphy for Glynn (h-t), M Collins for Roche (54), DJ Foran (Waterford) for O’Shea (57).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).