Only six points separate top from bottom in Ulster Bank League Division 1A after leaders Lansdowne, defending champions Clontarf and last year’s runners-up Cork Constitution all lost over the weekend.
Young Munster joined Lansdowne at the top of the table thanks to a tense 20-18 home win over Clontarf. Full-back David O’Mahony scored the decisive 79th minute penalty having converted first half tries from Thurles tighthead Colm Skehan and winger Jack Harrington.
Neil Cronin guided Garryowen to a gutsy 16-13 victory over Munster rivals Cork Constitution in a ding-dong battle at Dooradoyle. The scrum half sent over a 72nd minute penalty – his fourth successful kick of an 11-point tally – and centre Andrew O’Byrne swapped tries with Con powerhouse Conor Kindregan as Conan Doyle’s charges climbed into the top four.
Terenure College and UCD both racked up try-scoring bonus points in an eight-try thriller that went ’Nure’s way 31-24. James Blaney’s men lifted themselves off the bottom of the table, with flanker Robert Duke’s brace of tries helping them to open their win account.
UCD, who were missing a number of their Leinster contingent, battled back from 13 points down to take home two bonus points. Ireland Under-20 captain James Ryan and Sevens international Harry McNulty scored closing tries for the students.
The Red Robins are continuing to soar in Division 1B, winger Jamie McNamara’s fourth try of the campaign helping UL Bohemians to overcome Old Wesley 29-21 on the University’s 4G pitch.
Bohs have stolen a march on their promotion rivals with three bonus point wins on the trot, their latest triumph seeing former Munster scrum half Cathal Sheridan and his half-back partner Rick McKenna, who scored two tries, both impress.
Ballynahinch got back to winning ways with an 18-12 dismissal of a durable Shannon side. Second half tries from Chris Quinn and Davy Nicholson cancelled out an early effort from Shannon’s former Australia Under-20 lock Riley Winter.
League veteran Barry Keeshan drove Dolphin to their maiden win of the season as they saw off Galwegians’ fading challenge on a 27-18 scoreline in Cork. Keeshan’s classy kicking haul included five penalties, with forwards Dave O’Mahony and Karl Keogh grabbing second half tries.
Buccaneers climbed into second place after a late flurry, including a third try of the campaign for flying winger Jordan Conroy, saw them overhaul Naas 24-16 at Forenaughts.
At the Mardyke, Kevin O’Keeffe’s coolly-struck penalty steered UCC to a gripping 18-17 win over high-flying Ballymena. The Cork youngsters erased a 14-point first half deficit, with Chris McAuliffe and James Kiernan touching down either side of half-time.