Paul Kelly's goal five minutes from time proved to be the difference as UL exploited home advantage in a closely contested tie in Plassey yesterday.
The Tipperary veteran's lash to the net capped a spirited second-half comeback after his side recovered from a difficult mid-game period in which they fell seven points in arrears in this Fitzgibbon Cup clash.
Better shooting could have made life a lot easier for them -- they hit 11 wides to UCC's five -- and lethargic starts allowed their opponents to seize the initiative at the beginning of both halves.
UCC had three points on the board before the opposing defence had settled, but once UL's half-back line took control, they exploited their speed up front and the space being opened by Kelly.
After UL took the lead through Kieran Morris' free, the Cork team started to run at their opponents and four unanswered scores had them 0-9 to 0-6 ahead at the break.
However, with the wind behind them, UL clocked up eight points on the trot to take control.
Although UCC sub Paul Haughney equalised with a free, Kelly then found the net at the second attempt for the winners and Shane Bourke's third point was UCC's only response.
Scorers -- UL: K Morris 0-7 (5f), P Kelly 1-2, B Beckett, M Boran, J Gallagher, D Burke, P Murphy, P Cronin 0-1 each UCC: K Keehan 0-4 (4f), S Bourke 0-3, W Egan, D Honan, D Brosnan 0-2 each, P Haughney (f), J Cassin, D Kearney 0-1 each.
University of Limerick -- T Lowry; M Malone, M Walsh, S Hickey; A Hogan, B Bugler, K Joyce; P Cronin, J Gallagher; M Boran, B Beckett, D Burke; K Morris, P Kelly, M Heffernan. Subs: P Murphy for M Boran (40), A Quinn for M Heffernan (50), P Stapleton for M Malone (52), T O'Brien for J Gallagher (56).
UCC -- D McCarthy; C O'Sullivan, P O'Loughlin, M Cahill; J Nagle, K Moran, W Egan; D Kearney, P Mahony; S Bourke, K Keehan, D Brosnan; D Honan, J Cassin, G Mulcahy. Subs: P Haughney for G Mulcahy, L O'Farrell for K Keehan, S Harnedy for D Kearney.
Ref -- B Gavin (Offaly).