A devastating early scoring blitz enabled UCC to sweep aside DCU at the Mardyke to secure a quarter-final encounter at Galway-Mayo IT.
Inside 20 seconds of this winner-takes-all clash, Limerick ace Graeme Mulcahy had the ball in the back of the DCU net after gathering a Conor O'Sullivan delivery.
Following points from James Nagle, Shane Bourke and a goal from full-forward James Cassin, who profited after a good Dean Brosnan run to finish from close range, wing-forward Brosnan then added another point before the visitors had got off the mark.
With such a mountain to climb, DCU were never likely to overhaul the hosts, who played some very good hurling despite the worsening conditions.
The half-back line of Waterford's Kevin Moran and Cork duo Nagle and William Egan was well on top, and while Wesley O'Brien battled hard at midfield, UCC were dominant there too.
Brosnan was a shining light in attack for the home side, and when Mulcahy hammered home his second goal in the 14th minute, a brilliant finish from a tight angle, it was 3-3 to 0-1.
DCU managed to briefly threaten as a pair of Paul McAllister frees closed the gap and were added to by goalkeeper Bill McCormack's converted penalty, after McAllister had been fouled, to make it 3-8 to 1-4.
However, UCC responded with two points from Egan and another from Kevin Keehan and, when Keehan got their fourth goal early in the second half, it extended the gap between the teams to 17 points.
A raft of substitutions slowed down the tempo of the game after that as DCU fought in vain to find a way back against a far superior UCC side.
Scorers -- UCC: G Mulcahy 2-0, D Brosnan 0-5, K Keehan 1-2 (0-1f), W Egan 0-3 (3f), J Cassin 1-0, B O'Sullivan (2f), S Bourke 0-2 each, J Nagle, D Honan, P Haughney, R White 0-1 each. DCU: P McAllister 0-4 (4f), B McCormack 1-0 (1-0 pen), JJ Lennon 0-2 (2f), W O'Brien, E O'Mahony 0-1 each.
UCC -- D McCarthy; M Cahill, P O'Loughlin, C O'Sullivan; J Nagle, K Moran, W Egan; P O'Mahony, D Kearney; S Bourke, K Keehan, D Brosnan; D Honan, J Cassin, G Mulcahy. Subs: R White for Bourke, B O'Sullivan for D Kearney (both half-time), L O'Farrell for Mulcahy (40), P Haughney for Honan (44), W Kearney for O'Loughlin (47).
DCU -- B McCormack; S Kelly, A Moran, W Eviston; A Griffith, B Flaherty, D Hogan; W O'Brien, T Ó hUallacháin; JJ Lennon, A Creane, E O'Mahony; P McAllister, C Woodgate, E Kent. Sub: J Cullen for Ó hUallacháin (41).
Ref -- D Copps (Cork).