The students made a sensational start with a try after two minutes: a quick tap penalty from scrum-half John Poland caught Con napping and UCC out-half James Taylor raced over to stun the champions.
Con then stormed back and pinned their opponents back in their half where College’s back row of Graham Smith, Lee McSherry and Daire Feeney defended heroically. But Con’s pressure paid off in the 15th minute when Liam O’Connell got in at the corner for a try to level the tie. But back came UCC and two penalties from Taylor saw College lead 11-5 at the break.
Con took charge of the third quarter and three Tomás Quinlan penalties put the hosts 14-11 ahead. But their advantage was short-lived as another Taylor penalty had the sides level once more.
Con’s greater experience told coming down the home straight and a Brendan Quinlan try - converted by Quinlan - ten minutes from time sealed the win and continues the Temple Hill’s men trophy winning successes from last season.
Cork Con coach Brian Hickey was delighted with the testing encounter ahead of the new All-Ireland League season:
“The most important thing from our point of view is that we got a good competitive match and I think that will stand to both sides. A Cup final is a Cup final and I think it proved as we were neck and neck the whole way through and one score was going to win it and I am just glad that we got that. I think it will have shown a lot of the areas that we will have to improve.”
A Moynihan; L O’Connell, G Higgins, N Kenneally, P Buckley; T Quinlan, J Higgins; G Duffy, M Abbott, D Murphy; C Kindregan, B Hayes; J O’Callaghan, R O’Neill, E Mintern.
J McHenry, B Quinlan, G Roche, L Coughlan, J Davis, G Bradley, L Duffy.
M Linn; K Slater, C Bohane, D Horgan, J Kiernan; J Taylor, J Poland; S O’Hanlon, M Shinkwin, R O’Donovan; C Barry, D Moloney; G Smith, L McSherry, D Feeney.
F Hennessy, C Slowey, D Collins, B O’Mahony, R Cassidy, J Ryan, A Dorgan.
C Harrington (MAR).