Lehane points way as UCC book final spot
Conor Lehane hit nine points for UCC, but it wasn't until after Brian O'Sullivan scored a goal in injury-time that they could breathe easily in Galway.
"Hopefully we haven't peaked yet. It was a good performance and I was delighted with the workrate," said manager Eddie Enright, who captained UCC to the title in 1998.
UCC dominated the second 30 minutes, outscoring Nicky English's side by 1-11 to 0-5, but needed that show of strength as the Dublin students finished the first half the stronger with five points in a row to leave it 0-9 each at the break.
UCD had Limerick's Conor Allis sent off with five minute remaining for an off-the-ball clash with Killian Murphy, but English conceded they were dominated throughout.
"They were much slicker on the day really. I thought at half-time that we were doing well to even be level. Then I thought we had a chance because, at that stage, we shouldn't have been level. We were beaten by the better side," he said.
Even the introduction of Kilkenny All-Ireland winners John Tennyson and Walter Walsh had little impact, and another Cat, Cillian Buckley, was withdrawn with 10 minutes to go.
UCD also started the second period quite well and points from Allis and Noel McGrath had them level at 0-11 each in the 39th minute.
But at each whiff of danger, UCC stepped up their efforts and four quick points from O'Sullivan, Seamus Harnedy, Lehane and Barry Lawton eased them clear before O'Sullivan's late goal sealed the win.
Scorers – UCC: C Lehane 0-9 (6f), B O'Sullivan 1-2, J Barry 0-3 (2f), Brian Lawton, Barry Lawton 0-2 each, S Harnedy, B Hartnett 0-1 each. UCD: N McGrath 0-8f, C Allis 0-2, P Murphy, D Fox, C Buckley, C Kenny 0-1 each.
UCC – D McCarthy; S Maher, D Glynn, K Murphy; J Barry, D Fives, W Egan; P Haughney, B Murray; S Harnedy, Brian Lawton, D McCormack; B O'Sullivan, C Lehane, B Hartnett. Subs: Barry Lawton for Haughney (38), A Breen for McCormack (53).
UCD – B Murphy; S Norton, W Phelan, J Gannon; J Dougan, S O Gough, R O'Carroll; C Kenny, B O'Carroll; D Fox, P Murphy, C Buckley; N McGrath, C Allis, G Sinnott. Subs: J Tennyson for B O'Carroll (20), W Walsh for Norton (36), M Brennan for Buckley (50).
Ref – A Kelly (Galway)