There were wins for the top five clubs in Division One this weekend, while Belfast Harlequins won a tense relegation battle against Buccaneers to leave the Pirates and UCD precariously placed in the bottom two.
Belfast Harlequins 14 Buccaneers 12, Deramore Park
Scorers: Harlequins: Try: Mark Kettyle; Pens: Niall O’Connor 3
Buccaneers: Pens: Tom Cregan 4
HT: Belfast Harlequins 6 Buccaneers 0
Top scorer Tom Cregan failed to nail all his kicks as Buccaneers slipped up in a relegation dogfight at Deramore Park.
Cregan did land four penalties for Buccs but he missed a ‘sitter’ in the first half which ultimately proved crucial.
Harlequins, who leapfrog the Pirates into 14th place with this win, led 6-0 at half-time thanks to two Niall O’Connor penalties.
The best move of the match, six minutes into the second half, saw ‘Quins full-back Mark Kettyle scorch over for a try. Cregan’s boot got Buccs back in touch but time ran out on the visitors.
Dolphin 12 UL Bohemians 19, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Pens: Barry Keeshan 2; Drops: Keeshan 2
UL Bohemians: Tries: Martin McPhail, Colman Finn 2; Cons: Ben Martin 2
HT: Dolphin 3 UL Bohemians 12
UL Bohemians kept themselves right in the play-off hunt as they ran three tries past Dolphin at Musgrave Park.
Bohs claimed their sixth win in seven league games to remain third in the table with the Division One semi-finals looming.
Tries from winger Martin McPhail, who dotted down for the ninth time in this season’s league, and centre and captain Colman Finn helped Bohs to a 12-3 interval lead.
Dolphin cut the gap to six points – out-half Barry Keeshan banged over two penalties and two drop goals – but Finn’s second try, converted by Ben Martin, saw Bohs home.
Galwegians 14 Dungannon 10, Crowley Park
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Nick Wakley, Kieran Hickman; Cons: Wakley 2
Dungannon: Try: Thomas Anderson; Con: Richard McCarter; Pen: McCater
HT: Galwegians 7 Dungannon 7
Galwegians ensured their top flight status for another year with a hard-fought win over Dungannon at Crowley Park.
‘Wegians survived eleven minutes of stoppage time and a lop-sided penalty count to end their three-match losing streak.
Thomas Anderson, one of Ireland’s Under-20 Grand Slam heroes, scored off an early scrum to see Dungannon into a 7-0 lead. But the hosts were level by the break thanks to centre Nick Wakley’s converted try.
‘Gannon snuck ahead courtesy of a Richard McCarter penalty before a brilliant attack from full-back Cormac O’Beirne set up winger Kieran Hickman for ‘Wegians clinching try.
Garryowen 39 Blackrock College 5, Dooradoyle
Scorers: Garryowen: Scorers: Anthony Kavanagh 2, David Sherry, Cillian O’Boyle, Adam O’Loughlin, Gerry Hurley; Cons: Hurley 3; Pen: Hurley
Blackrock: Try: Fionn Carr
HT: Garryowen 22 Blackrock 0
Play-off chasing Garryowen drew themselves level on points with fourth-placed Shannon as they comprehensively defeated Blackrock at Dooradoyle.
Flanker Anthony Kavanagh continued his rich vein of form by scoring two tries to take his tally to five in his last two games.
Garryowen were 22-0 to the good at half-time and well out of sight by the time Blackrock full-back Fionn Carr ran in his eleventh try of the league run.
David Sherry, Cillian O’Boyle, Adam O’Loughlin and Gerry Hurley helped themselves to tries for the Limerick men as they earned their eleventh win in 13 league meetings with ‘Rock.
Shannon 26 Lansdowne 17, Coonagh
Scorers: Shannon: Tries: David Quinlan, David O’Donovan, Andrew Thompson; Con: Thompson; Pens: Thompson 3
Lansdowne: Tries: Paul Doran-Jones, Gavin O’Meara; Cons: Robbie Dolan 2; Pen: Dolan
HT: Shannon 13 Lansdowne 10
Andrew Thompson helped himself to 16 points as Shannon won their first ever AIB League game at Coonagh.
Playing at their second ground due to Thomond Park’s redevelopment, Shannon maintained their run in fourth place in Division One.
The champions went 10-0 down when Lansdowne prop Paul Doran Jones (21 minutes) scored a converted try and full-back Robbie Dolan (28) landed a penalty.
But Shannon fought back to lead 13-10 at the break with number 8 David Quinlan and full-back David O’Donovan dotting down.
Out-half Thompson broke free to score in the 55th-minute and he kicked two second half penalties.
St. Mary’s College 15 Ballymena 13, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s: Robert Sweeney, Ronan Doherty; Con: Barry Lynn; Pen: Lynn
Ballymena: Tries: Paul Campbell, Neil McMillan; Pen: David Drake
HT: St. Mary’s 10 Ballymena 5
Ballymena’s woes continued at Templeville Road as they lost for the fifth week in a row in the AIB League.
Barry Lynn, making his first league start after fighting back from a long-term Achilles injury, kicked Mary’s into an early lead.
A Scott Young break set up a 15th-minute try for Ballymena full-back Paul Campbell, but the hosts took a 10-5 lead into the break thanks to a 39th-minute try from prop Robert Sweeney.
Full-back Ronan Doherty touched down for Mary’s second try before the Braidmen mounted a late rally with a David Drake penalty and Neil McMillan try.
Terenure College 27 Clontarf 39, Lakelands Park
Scorers: Terenure: Tries: Jonathan Barretto, Adam Hughes, Alex Dunlop, Mark Mahony 2; Con: John Bollard
Clontarf: Tries: Max Rantz-McDonald 2, Kenny Dorian, Daragh O’Shea, Fiach O’Loughlin; Cons: Conal Keane 4; Pen: Peter O’Brien; Drop: O’Brien
HT: Terenure 10 Clontarf 21
Clontarf scored their sixth win in nine AIB League meetings with their Dublin rivals Terenure at Lakelands Park.
Tries from lively centre Max Rantz-McDonald, prop Kenny Dorian and full-back Daragh O’Shea had ‘Tarf 21-10 in front by the interval.
‘Nure kept in the hunt with unconverted efforts from prop Jonathan Barretto and winger Adam Hughes. An Alex Dunlop score then got the hosts back to within six points.
But ‘Tarf, who closed the gap on leaders Cork Constitution to six points, raced to victory with tries from scrum half Fiach O’Loughlin and Rantz-McDonald and two late kicks from Peter O’Brien.
UCD 21 Cork Constitution 28, Belfield
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Kevin Croke 2; Cons: Fergus McFadden 2; Pens: McFadden 3
Cork Con: Tries: Ed Leamy, Dan Nethery, Cronan Healy; Cons: Richie Lane 2; Pens: Lane 3
HT: UCD 18 Cork Constitution 11
Division One leaders Cork Constitution came with a late rally at Belfield to gain their sixth straight win.
Two first half tries from UCD flanker Kevin Croke had the relegation-threatened students dreaming of a shock win.
They led 18-11 at the break, having conceded a sole try to Con flanker Ed Leamy, the younger brother of Ireland star Denis.
UCD centre Fergus McFadden tagged on a penalty, his third of the afternoon, but a late burst which included a Richie Lane penalty and a converted try from winger Cronan Healy steered the Leesiders to another success.