Holders UCC ensured their presence at the finals weekend by finishing strongly to see off local rivals Cork IT at the Mardyke.
With 10 minutes of normal time remaining, CIT looked as if they would avenge their defeat in last year's final as they led by 1-10 to 1-8, but points by Brian Murphy, Barry Lawton, Dan McCormack and Conor Lehane turned the game UCC's way and they then withstood a late onslaught from their visitors.
UCC enjoyed a lot of the play in the first half but shot 10 wides. CIT were sharper in front of goal, David Drake impressing as they led early on, and they went 1-4 to 0-3 in front when Lorcan McLoughlin's long-range shot caught out the unsighted Darren McCarthy in the UCC goal.
Although UCC responded well with Brian Lawton getting two points, Daire Lordan frees helped to ensure that CIT led at half-time, 1-6 to 0-7, and Michael O'Sullivan's solo point then put them further ahead.
UCC drew level when James Barry's sideline cut caused panic in the CIT goalmouth and Brian O'Sullivan scrambled the loose ball into the net.
Dan McCormack put the hosts back in front, but they could not kick on. Instead, Ciaran Sheehan and a pair of frees by Lordan served to give CIT a two-point cushion.
Now, though, they were being afflicted by the same shooting malaise that UCC suffered from in the first half and five unanswered points from the hosts meant that they led as the end neared.
Lordan's fifth point made it a nervy ending, with McCarthy having to save well from Michael O'Sullivan.
UCC now await the winners of today's clash between UCD and UL.
Scorers – UCC: B O'Sullivan 1-1, C Lehane 0-4f, D McCormack, Brian Lawton 0-2 each, J Barry (f), B Murray (s-l), B Hartnett, Barry Lawton 0-1 each. Cork IT: D Lordan 0-5f, L McLoughlin 1-0, D Drake 0-2, M O'Sullivan, B Cooper, C Sheehan, E Concannon 0-1 each.
UCC – D McCarthy; S Maher, D Glynn, K Murphy; J Barry, D Fives, W Egan; B Murray, P Haughney; S Harnedy, D McCormack, Brian Lawton; B Hartnett, B O'Sullivan, C Lehane. Subs: C Murphy for Haughney (28 inj), W Griffin (Limerick) for Murphy (46), Barry Lawton for O'Sullivan (51).
CORK IT – S Nyhan; B O'Sullivan, S Daniels, S O'Halloran; L McLoughlin, P O'Connor, J Goggin; N Kelly, A Walsh; J Cronin, D Drake, M O'Sullivan; C Sheehan, D Lordan, B Cooper.
Subs: E Concannon for Cooper (23), N O'Doherty for Goggin (30), Cooper for Walsh (49), T Lawrence for Kelly (56).
Ref – J Ryan (Tipperary)