Antrim capped a debut win for new manager Frank Dawson as they saw off the students from UUJ by three points at Casement Park.
The home side were 0-4 to 0-0 to the good after nine minutes with Michael McCann, Kevin O'Boyle and Michael Pollock notching scores from play and Paddy Cunningham slotting over a free.
For all Antrim's early dominance, they found themselves on level terms after 18 minutes when Declan Lynch goaled, but when O'Boyle palmed to the UUJ net 10 minutes later, Antrim were back in control.
McCann, Kieran Close and full-back Sean McVeigh all added scores to give Antrim a 1-10 to 1-3 lead at the break.
A second Lynch goal midway through the second half cut the gap to four points and a goal separated the sides on 54 minutes when Emmet McGuckin slotted over from play.
Two points from impressive sub Colm Fleming steadied the Antrim ship as the Saffrons started the year with a victory.
Antrim will host Tyrone at Casement Park in the second group game on Sunday, while UUJ will travel to Celtic Park to face Derry.
SCORERS – Antrim: K O'Boyle 1-1, P Cunningham 0-4 (4f), M McCann, C Fleming (1 '45') 0-2 each, S McVeigh, K Niblock, B Herron, M Pollock, K Close, M Herron 0-1 each. UUJ: D Lynch 2-0, E McGuckin 0-3, A Devlin 0-2 (1f), C Duffin, R Donnelly, G McCartan, R Corrigan 0-1 each.
Antrim – C Kerr; K O'Boyle, S McVeigh, J Lavery; T Scullion, J Crozier, N Delargy; M McCann, P Doherty; C Murray, K Niblock, B Herron; P Cunningham, M Pollock, K Close. Subs: M Herron for Pollock, R Johnson for McVeigh, C Fleming for Murray, S Finch for O'Boyle, J Carron for McCann.
UUJ – M McReynolds; K McKaigue, D Lavery, D Quinn; E Wade, G McCartan, E Deeney; G Rennicks, C Duffin; R Donnelly, A Devlin, G McGovern; R Corrigan, E McGuckin, D Lynch. Subs: E Kivelahan for Lavery, G O'Neill for Corrigan, M Carson for Rennicks.
Ref – C Reynolds (Down).