Cork began the post-Eoin Cadogan era with a win as they ultimately got the better of UCC at the Mardyke.
Despite starting slowly, the Rebels took the initiative as two goals in a minute from Patrick Horgan and Paudie O'Sullivan ensured a 2-9 to 0-10 half-time lead.
Though UCC came back strongly early in the second half, Willie Griffin goaling from a 20m free, they could not draw level and Cork pulled away, leaving manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy happy.
"With every panel, you review it on an ongoing basis and we'll keep doing that," he said. "We don't get everything right, it's obviously a work-in-progress, it was a hard year last year, but I think we took baby steps," he said.
"We're not patting ourselves on the back or anything, but there's great morale in the camp, lads are training well and working very well together."
SCORERS – Cork: P Horgan 2-7 (1-4f, 0-2 '65'), P O'Sullivan 1-4,P Cronin 0-4, S Moylan 0-3, M Cussen, R O'Shea 0-1 each. UCC: W Griffin 1-7 (1-4f), S Harnedy 0-5, D McCormack, B Hartnett, C Lehane, B Murray 0-1.
CORK – A Nash; S O'Neill, C Spillane, S McDonnell; T Kenny, C Joyce, S White; D Kearney, P Cronin; B Corry, C McCarthy, S Moylan; P Horgan, M Cussen, P O'Sullivan. Subs: R O'Shea for Kearney (h-t), M O'Sullivan for Cussen (51).
UCC – D McCarthy; S Maher, D Glynn, B Cleary; J Barry, K Lane, W Egan; B Lawton, B Murray; S Harnedy, D McCormack, B Hartnett; A Breen, C Lehane , W Griffin.
Subs: K Ryan for Maher (h-t), B Coughlan for Cleary (h-t), M Sugrue for McCormack (h-t), B Lawton for Breen (56), M Howard for Murray (62).
Ref – J O'Brien (Tipperary)