Cork Constitution kept on course for League honours but not before they were given a stern test by Co Carlow in Oak Park. In the end Con were 18-6 victors but were made work hard to earn the points.
They started off at a blistering pace and were denied tries in the opening minutes by last gasp tackles on John Kelly and then Ultan O’Callaghan. But they took the lead with a Conor Mahony drop goal in the 6th minute and then had tries by Kelly and Derek Dillon to stretch 18 points clear. At that stage it looked like the home side were in for a hosing but remarkably, Con didn’t score again for the entire game.
They led by those 18 points at half time and the introduction of Andy Melville – playing his first game since Christmas – served to inspire the underdogs. Billy Murphy opened Co Carlow’s account in the 43rd minute and the full-back on target again three minutes later to leave his side trailing by 12 points. But then Carlow’s discipline began to let them down – JJ Waddock and Phillip Jones both sin-binned -and unforced errors crept into their game. Murphy was wide with a penalty attempt in the 67th minute and this let-off had the effect of galvanising the Con effort. The visitors held on for a win that leaves them second in the table.
Clontarf, third placed at the start of the day, dropped to fifth after their game with Buccaneers was postponed and Terenure won 27-23 in Lakelands. Terenure go third after tries from Phillip Costello and Dermot Costello coupled with four penalties from Richard Governey saw them go into a 24-5 interval lead. Lansdowne came back strongly in the second half but Nure held on for a deserved win.
In Tom Clifford Park Young Munster finally ceded their place in Division One after losing 22-12 to St Mary’s while Dungannon eased themselves away from the relegation zone thanks to a 31-12 win over Galwegians in Stevenson Park.
DLSP remain second from bottom having lost 28-8 at home to fellow strugglers Ballymena in Kilternan.