UCD were in seventh heaven at Ballymacarn Park where their evasive backs ran riot against a disappointing Ballynahinch side, carving them open for a 47-13 bonus point win in Ulster Bank League Division 1A.
Former Ireland Under-20 internationals Peadar Timmins and Barry Daly scored a brace each as Noel McNamara’s young UCD side tallied up seven tries against Ballynahinch – an ideal response to last week’s narrow home defeat to Clontarf.
Replacement James McBriar converted his own 75th-minute try for ‘Hinch, who trailed 22-6 at the break, but the visitors were cruising at that stage with Jamie Glynn, Adam Byrne and Nick McCarthy also touching down.
Meanwhile, Tom Daly held his nerve to convert a long range 79th-minute penalty and give Lansdowne a share of the spoils – 22-22 – away to Division 1A rivals Cork Constitution.
Cork Con dominated the first half at Temple Hill, putting the defending champions under intense pressure with powerful forwards Brian Hayes and Luke Cahill claiming a try apiece.
Trailing 16-3 at the break, Mike Ruddock’s men responded in impressive fashion to close the gap. Scott Deasy, the former Cork Con and Munster out-half, and new signing Matthew D’Arcy both touched down as the Leesiders’ lead was completely erased. Tomas Quinlan kicked a drop goal and penalty, sandwiching a Deasy three-pointer, but Ireland Sevens captain Daly had the final say to seal the draw.
Terenure College produced a superior second half display at Lakelands Park as they reeled in Galwegians to claim their opening win of the Division 1A campaign – 32-21.
‘Wegians, the conquerors of Cork Con last week, led 9-5 at the interval thanks to three Aidan Moynihan penalties which cancelled out Harry Moore’s early try in the corner.
The introduction of Graham Coffey off the ‘Nure bench, combined with the sin-binning of ‘Wegians young lock Sean O’Brien, saw the Dubliners lift the tempo and an Oisin Heffernan try and Stephen O’Neill penalty made it 15-9.
Although centre Brian Murphy also saw yellow for the westerners, they hung in there as a 70th-minute penalty try cancelled out an Eoin Joyce effort. ‘Wegians did add a late try through Paddy Finn, but an intercept score from James O’Donoghue (pictured below) and an O’Neill injury-time penalty sealed the result for ‘Nure.
On Friday night, Rob McGrath matched his brother Mick’s two-try haul from the opening round as Clontarf beat Old Belvedere 20-14 for their second successive league triumph.
The north Dubliners lost twice to Belvedere last season, so they were all out for revenge under the Castle Avenue floodlights. Winger McGrath’s intercept effort had them 7-3 ahead at half-time, with ‘Belvo flanker Karl Miller sent-off for an apparent head butt.
In the second half ‘Tarf brought on last season’s Division 1A Player of the Year Matt D’Arcy, whose short-term contract at Munster has been extended, but two more penalties from Belvedere winger Shane McDonald closed the gap to 10-9.
Joey Carbery steadied the hosts with a well-struck penalty and a terrific weaving run from McGrath (pictured below) settled the tie at 20-9, before Rory O’Loughlin’s late try earned ‘Belvo a losing bonus point.
Hooker Liam McMahon’s try, nine minutes from time, helped Garryowen fight back for a 16-all draw with hosts Young Munster in a typically hard-fought Friday Night Lights clash.
Young Munster’s Australian head coach Anthony Mathison got his first taste of a Limerick derby on a night when the Tom Clifford Park floodlights had their official switch-on. Things were going well for the Cookies who led 13-6 at the break, a bout of late pressure from the forwards yielding a converted score from replacement Alan Kennedy.
Place-kickers Paul Downes and James Frawley swapped further penalties, but with Munsters lock Sean Duggan binned for a high tackle, Garryowen maintained their unbeaten start to the new Division 1A season with McMahon touching down and winger Frawley landing the levelling conversion.