Lansdowne were within touching distance of their first away win in Ulster Bank League Division 1B, but UCC snatched it away from them with a fine finish at the Mardyke.
A late penalty from centre Andrew Burke and drop goal from out-half Johnny Holland saw the Cork students triumph in what was their annual Colours match.
Colours were awarded to eleven UCC players on the day – Burke, Holland, Kevin O'Byrne, Michael Kenefick, Brian Quill, Johnny MacCarthy, Andrew O'Leary, Neville O'Donoghue, Kieran Murphy, Joe Holland and Daniel Horgan.
The first half was slugged out between the forwards for the most part, with Burke kicking the hosts ahead after just three minutes.
Eoghan Hickey, the top scorer in the division, replied three minutes later and added his second penalty on the cusp of half-time, giving Lansdowne a 6-3 advantage.
A superb team try from the Dubliners, which was dotted down by full-back David Hewitt, put eight points between the sides.
But UCC finished strongly, team captain James Ryan leading by example with a seven-pointer initially. Then Burke and Holland converted pressure kicks to chalk up the students' second win in three league games.
The result has drawn Conor Twomey's youngsters level on points with sixth-placed Dungannon. Lansdowne, who remain in third place, are just four points ahead on 19 points.
Referee: Alan Rogan (IRFU)