A penalty a minute into injury-time from Tony Murphy gave Cork IT a one-point victory over champions NUI Galway at Dangan in Galway.
As the clock ticked down, however, Murphy was shown a straight red card for an incident with NUIG skipper Pat Kelly and could now miss the remainder of the competition.
It was two second-half goals that clinched the two points for CIT, who had trailed their hosts by 0-10 to 0-9 at the break. NUI Galway, who started with 11 of last year's victorious side, got off to a horrible start and looked shell-shocked as Patrick O'Connor, Lorcan McLoughlin and two frees from Ryan Clifford saw CIT lead by four points after five minutes.
But the Galway college soon rallied, and a driving display from Tipperary All-Ireland winner Seamus Hennessy saw them hit six points on the trot, including a great score from Barry Daly from the right to make it 0-6 to 0-4 after 17 minutes.
NUIG led by a point at the break, but a goal from Clifford edged the Cork college in front in the second-half. Caimin Morey continued to take advantage from dead balls and with two minutes remaining, he fired NUIG a point ahead.
John Conlon added a super point from distance to double their advantage soon after, but the late drama soon turned the game on its head. NUIG corner-back Sean McCormack was adjudged to have impeded Murphy as they battled for McLoughlin's high ball and referee Alan Kelly awarded a penalty, which Murphy rattled to the net with an unstoppable shot to hand CIT a one-point victory.
Scorers -- Cork IT: R Clifford 1-5 (0-5f), T Murphy 1-2 (0-2f), P O'Connor 0-2, M Bowles, L McLoughlin, C Casey 0-1each. NUIG: C Morey 0-10 (0-9f, 0-1 '65'), J Conlon, G Kelly 0-2 each, B Daly, R Shanahan, D O'Donovan 0-1each.
Cork IT -- T Quaid; J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, J Herlihy; S McDonald, R Cashman, C Leahy; S White, L McLoughlin; P O'Connor, C Casey, M Bowles; T Murphy, M O'Sullivan, R Clifford. Subs: P Gould for Bowles (44), S Daniels for Leahy (49), C Fennelly for O'Sullivan (54).
NUI Galway -- D Touhy; D Nash, P Kelly, S McCormack; P Gordon, P Nihill, S Hennessy; J Cooney, D O'Donovan; B Daly, R Shanahan, JP O'Connell; G Kelly, J Conlon, C Morey. Sub: M Keating for O'Connell (40).
REF -- A Kelly