Conor Hayes ran in his eighth try of the Energia All-Ireland League season as Young Munster won their derby clash with Garryowen, triumphing 20-16 in front of their home support at Tom Clifford Park.
The Cookies led 17-6 heading into the closing stages, but two quick-fire tries from Jamie Shanahan and Dylan Murphy had the Light Blues back in the contest.
However, Evan Cusack’s second penalty goal of the night ensured that Munsters held on for a deserved win – their first in three rounds.
Gearoid Prendergast’s side dominated the game for large periods, especially at scrum time, but it was Garryowen who opened the scoring with Jamie Heuston’s 13th-minute penalty.
The response was swift from the hosts when Evan Maher’s box-kick after the restart was ran back by Conor O’Shaughnessy. Hooker Dan Walsh came on a perfect line and showed superb speed to run in from 25 metres out, with Cusack converting.
The scoreboard was not troubled again until the 31st minute when Heuston landed his second penalty. A number of scrum penalties came their way but the Cookies were unable to take advantage, as they took a 7-6 lead into the break.
Young Munster made it a four-point game when Cusack punished a late hit on him by sin-binned lock Roy Whelan. In Whelan’s absence, Garryowen dug deep to stop Alan Kennedy, John Foley and Harry Fleming in quick succession, just a few metres out.
Nonetheless, when the ball was moved out to the backs, Hayes carried well and piled over in the left corner, using the two men outside him as a decoy.
Garryowen fought hard to get back into contention thanks to late tries from Shanahan and Murphy, both wide on the right, but Cusack’s penalty sealed the bragging rights for Young Munster.
Meanwhile, defending Division 1A champions Cork Constitution powered past local rivals UCC, on a 45-0 scoreline, to make it five wins on the trot.
With their powerful lineout and scrum the ideal launchpads, Cork Con tallied up seven tries at the Mardyke as half-backs Tomas Quinlan and Duncan Williams got the best out of their dominant pack.
UCC trailed 26-0 at half-time, Billy Crowley threatening before tighthead Paddy Casey claimed the first of his two tries from close range in the 11th minute.
Despite the best efforts of captain Rob Hedderman and number 8 Jack O’Sullivan, the hosts leaked three tries approaching the interval, with flanker Aidan Brien seeing yellow for the concession of a penalty try.
Hooker Luke McAuliffe and lock Cathal O’Flaherty added a late brace, Con’s phase-building wearing down the UCC defence and the title holders showing admirable control in the slippery conditions.
A penalty stuck into the corner paved the way for McAuliffe to complete his brace, early on the restart. O’Flaherty got over in the corner again for his second – picked out by an excellent Crowley pass – and Casey also doubled his tally late on.
Vice-captain Cormac Daly delivered a hat-trick of tries as Clontarf convincingly dispatched Dublin University 27-7 to stay two points clear at the summit.
The 6ft 6in lock, who had a short-term stint with Connacht last year, touched down twice during the first half at Castle Avenue. He added a third after ‘Tarf replacement Ben Griffin had been sin-binned.
Trinity had high hopes of testing the table toppers having claimed the scalps of Lansdowne and Young Munster, but the north Dubliners proved too strong, particularly up front.
Leinster talent David Hawkshaw was back at out-half for ‘Tarf and his first half penalty helped to establish a 13-0 lead at the break.
The students responded well to Aran Egan’s sin-binning, and their Ulster Academy lock, Harry Sheridan, barged over for a try with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Daly slipped through from a ruck to register the bonus point score and seal ‘Tarf’s seventh win in eight games.
Provincial players Peter Dooley, Cormac Foley and Peter Sullivan all crossed the whitewash in Lansdowne’s impressive 48-15 dismissal of UCD.
Leinster prop Dooley drove over for the bonus point try in the 32nd minute, as Mark McHugh’s men quickly went about their business on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch.
Their maul and scrum were in dominant form, setting up tries for hookers Luke Thompson and Jamie Kavanagh (2) as well as earning a first-half penalty try.
Leinster Academy flanker Sean O’Brien emptied the tank for UCD, registering a try and racking up the tackles. Replacement Richard Fahy closed the gap to 36-15, but that was as close as the students came.
Bottom side Ballynahinch were handed a 39-0 beating by Terenure College who have climbed back into the top half of the division.
‘Nure produced a commanding first half display at Lakelands Park, Peter Sylvester’s 11th-minute intercept try coming on the back of a 30-metre penalty from Jake Swaine.
Luke Clohessy went over in the corner following an Adam La Grue break, Jordan Coghlan finished off good work from the forwards, and Conor McCormack grabbed the bonus point score after combining with fellow prop Campbell Classon.
Ballynahinch turned around with the wind at their backs, but their comeback hopes ended with ‘Nure winger Craig Adams’ fifth try of the season. Number 8 Coghlan added his fourth in two matches.