WEXFORD'S Jack Guiney put Limerick IT to the sword in Belfield as UCD got off to a winning start, despite being without injured Kilkenny trio John Tennyson, Cillian Buckley and Walter Walsh.
The sides were level six times in the opening half before Tipp star Noel McGrath edged UCD a point clear at half-time, 0-8 to 0-7.
Gary Guilfoyle restored parity early in the second half but goals from Kilkenny's Michael Brennan and Guiney, who notched 1-3, all from play, ensured a routine success for UCD.
The Belfield boys haven't won the Fitzgibbon Cup since 2001, and last contested a final in 2006, but that long wait could be about to end for the 30-times winners.
Scorers – UCD: J Guiney 1-3, N McGrath 0-4 (3f), M Brennan 1-0, P Murphy 0-2, J Gannon, O Gough, G Sinnott, D Fox 0-1 each. LIT: G Guilfoyle 0-6 (4f, 2 '65s'), S Collins 0-4 (1f), P Hickey 0-1.
UCD – B Murphy; J Dougan, S Norton, R O'Carroll; C Allis, W Phelan, J Gannon; N McGrath, O Gough; G Sinnott, P Murphy, J Guiney; D Fox, M Brennan, C Kenny. Subs: D Mulligan for Kenny (47), R Kelly for Brennan (54), B O'Carroll for Allis (58), M McCaffrey for Gough (58), A O'Dowd for Norton (59).
LIT – A Fahy; A Dempsey, P Begley, C Barrett; P Ahern, J O'Keeffe, P Flaherty; P O'Brien, E O'Sullivan; J Fitzgibbon, S Collins, C Madden; G Guilfoyle, S O'Brien, P Hickey. Subs: J Guilfoyle for Madden (33), P Greene for O'Sullivan (44), P Dalton for S O'Brien (58), R O'Shaughnessy for G Guilfoyle (58).
Ref – A Stapleton (Laois).