LANSDOWNE 15 CLONTARF 10, RDS
Scorers: Lansdowne: Pens: Robbie Dolan 3; Drops: Neil Walsh, Luke Cozens
Clontarf: Try: Cian Healy; Con: Daragh O'Shea; Pen: Daragh O'Shea
Lansdowne got the better of their Dublin rivals Clontarf, avenging their recent 26-6 Leinster Senior Cup semi-final defeat to the same opponents, in a keenly contested tie played at the RDS.
Stephen Rooney's side used a strong kicking game to edge clear of the visitors in the second half, when 'Tarf's scrum and lineout encountered some problems and they largely lost their way.
Lansdowne battled well over the opening half-hour with a penalty from Dolan and a drop goal from Neil Walsh, hit crisply from 25 metres out, putting them 6-3 in front. Daragh O'Shea had kicked a third-minute penalty for 'Tarf and the visitors succeeded in breaking the try deadlock just before the break.
It came from a forwards drive as young prop Cian Healy, who recently broke into the Leinster team, burrowed over from close range with Lansdowne having centre Greg Stafford sin-binned in the immediate aftermath.
O'Shea converted the try to hand 'Tarf a 10-6 buffer to take into the second half. The 14 men of Lansdowne managed to cut the gap to a single point just three minutes after the restart when Dolan hammered over a penalty.
Lansdowne, with their pack getting on top, forced a ruck infringement out of the visitors six minutes from the finish and Dolan again obliged, using the wind to good effect from 35 metres out.
Now 12-10 in front and with 'Tarf's New Zealand flanker Chris Elvin seeing yellow, Rooney's charges saw out the win with replacement out-half Luke Cozens bisecting the posts from close to the 22.
Avenging last season's 19-10 defeat at Castle Avenue, Lansdowne had impressive displays from Derry Coughlan at scrum half and David Lavin and William Wallace in the back row, the latter having signed from Buccaneers in the summer.
On day, Tarf would have scored another try or two but knock ons close-in infringements meant those chances went a-begging and all they were to take from trip south of the Liffey was a losing bonus point.
Scorers: Galwegians: Try: Cormac O'Beirne; Con: Cormac O'Beirne; Drop: Eamonn Molloy
St. Mary's College: Try: Matt Crockett; Pen: Frank Lynch
Connacht Senior Cup champions Galwegians outlasted St. Mary's College in a very competitive Division One clash in Glenina on Saturday, with a drop goal from Eamonn Molloy proving to be the crucial score.
The sides were locked level at 0-0 at half-time, with a dominant Mary's missing two place-kicks. Mary's had lock Eoin Keane sin-binned and they then conceded an intercept try to 'Wegians out-half Cormac O'Beirne.
A try from hooker Matt Crockett and a Frank Lynch penalty put the Dubliners 8-7 ahead but a late drop goal from replacement Molloy saw 'Wegians take the spoils.
Neither side covered themselves in glory in a first half riddled with errors and not helped by some wintry conditions. Playing towards the clubhouse end, Mary's had a benefit of a howling gale at their backs, but while they used it to good advantage when finding touch, their place-kicking let them down.
'Wegians' defence was also at its stubborn best with a couple of forward drives from the visitors stopped short of the try line.
Keane's sin-binning seemed to have little affect on Mary's game as they looked to use a pick and go game when facing into the wind in the second half. They looked to be having some joy until O'Beirne gobbled up a loose pass in midfield and raced the 50 metres to the whitewash for a real sucker punch try.
O'Beirne, the son of the the Connacht team doctor Donal, converted his try and the home crowd finally had some points to cheers.
The conditions were not helping Mary's as dropped balls and kicks held up in the wind but a try from new hooker Crockett, an AIB Club international who previously played for Dublin University, got the Dubliners back on track.
After a missed conversion, they nosed into a one-point lead when Lynch knocked over a penalty, yet Molloy's neat drop goal saw 'Wegians wrestle back the lead and that is how it stayed as Mary's failed to score in the remaining minutes.
Daragh Fanning was stopped short of the line and Lynch missed a drop goal from a difficult angle as Mary's failed to win away from home in the league for the fourth time in a row.
Incredibly it was veteran Molloy's first AIB League appearance for the Galway men in over ten years and it certainly was a memorable one.