Buccaneers got back to winning ways in some style as they ran in five tries in the closing 25 minutes at Dubarry Park to hand UCC a 30-point beating.
The result, coupled with Clontarf's defeat at Dungannon, was enough to send Buccs to the top of the Division 1B standings. Number 8 Kolo Kiripati and Connacht-capped winger Brian Tuohy scored two tries apiece.
The centre pitch at the Athlone looked in great condition for its first match of the new campaign, after some extensive work on it during the summer.
Hendre Marnitz's side had the sun and a light breeze at their backs in the opening half and edged ahead thanks to a couple of penalties from scrum half David Connellan, his first kick from all of halfway.
A 23rd minute try from flanker Colin Watters, converted by Connellan, added to the home side’s confidence and they were 16-3 to the good at half-time.
Out-half Andrew Burke kicked UCC's first half points and he converted a 46th minute try from winger Brian Derham – his second of the season – to close the gap to 16-10.
The Cork students were more organised and up to speed in the second period, and they created the space for Derham to saunter in for a well-taken score.
But the home side dominated the remainder. Kiripati eased the tension with a 55th minute effort and Tuohy added a quick-fire brace after 63 and 68 minutes, chalking up the bonus point.
Tuohy's first came after a delightful cross-field kick from replacement Aidan Wynne, and the second was the result of a series of errors from UCC.
Kiripati, who excelled throughout, barrelled over for his second try and two minutes from time, outside centre Paul Harte made it six with a well-taken intercept try.
Buccs' pick-and-go game seemed to sap UCC's strength up front, and the midlanders also had the cutting edge and pace out wide to do damage.
UCC ran a penalty from inside their own half in injury-time and prop John Ryan was able to crash over for a consolation score, which Burke converted.
Referee: David Keane (IRFU)