Dublin University gave their top four hopes a shot in the arm with a brilliant 27-8 bonus point win over Young Munster at Tom Clifford Park.
Trinity were down at the break, but second half tries from Leinster Academy hooker Lee Barron (2) and Gavin Jones saw them pick up some valuable Energia All-Ireland League points on the road.
The Young Munster camp was badly hit by Covid-19 in the run up to the game, with four named starters unable to take the field.
The students started this Division 1A contest well with Rob Russell and Liam McMahon making early breaks, and their good early pressure was rewarded on 12 minutes.
Successive penalties put Tony Smeeth’s side in a good position near the try-line and after several close calls for the defence, Diarmuid McCormack eventually barrelled his way over.
Young Munster drew level just after the half hour through the in-form Dan Walsh. Good hands from Jason Kiely, Jack Lyons and Kiely once more led to a penalty that Evan Cusack kicked to the corner.
A devastating lineout maul followed and Walsh was on hand to add to the two tries he scored against Garryowen in last week’s derby defeat.
Cusack followed up with a late penalty from inside his own half that needed the crossbar’s help to get over, giving the Cookies an 8-5 lead.
However, with Cusack kicking out on the full at the start of the second half, things began to unravel for Gearoid Prendergast’s charges.
After a couple of scrums, Luis Faria powered through the Young Munster defence initially. Plenty of good work followed again from Trinity with Barron eventually touching down. Aran Egan’s conversion made it 12-8.
The visitors followed up with their third try soon after. They made their way into the home 22 with ease and referee Frank Murphy awarded a penalty that saw Young Munster scrum half Lyons sin-binned.
Another penalty won, this time the Trinity maul was planned to perfection with Barron again in position to score the try. Egan hit the target once more with the conversion for 19-8.
Egan stretched that lead to 14 points with a penalty on 55 minutes and the game was put to bed when centre Jones bagged the bonus point try after good initial work from Ronan Quinn.
Hooker Dylan Donnellan grabbed his 11th try of the season, from a maul, in leaders Clontarf’s 26-13 bonus point victory at home to UCC.
The top flight’s bottom side led early on through the boot of a wind-backed Eoin Monahan, who split the posts from 54 metres out with his second penalty.
An inspired UCC were only 14-13 behind at the break thanks to Tim Duggan’s excellent intercept try in the corner, which saw him run over from halfway. Out-half Monahan managed to convert.
Nonetheless, Clontarf wrestled back control when Donnellan and Cian O’Donoghue both crossed in the second half, adding to earlier converted efforts from returning lock Cormac Daly and Adrian D’Arcy.
UCC will look back on two costly yellow cards, as Daly crossed from close range just after Corey Hanlon was dispatched to the sin bin.
Fellow prop Alessandro Heaney also saw yellow in the 53rd minute, with the resulting lineout providing the platform for Donnellan to pick up another score for his 2021/22 collection.
It was winger O’Donoghue who sealed the result with 12 minutes remaining. Number 8 Tony Ryan gobbled up a loose ball in midfield and linked with Michael Courtney who fed O’Donoghue to show his pace right to the left corner.
A trio of second half tries from Max Abbott, Greg Higgins and Sean French steered Cork Constitution past Ballynahinch on a 26-15 scoreline. Cork Con have moved back into the top four.
Relegation-threaten Ballynahinch fought valiantly at Temple Hill, breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute with a well-taken try from South African winger Shane Ball, via passes from Paddy Wright and Greg Hutley.
Brian Hickey’s men had to adapt and reshuffle their pack after losing Eoin Quilter, Liam O’Connor and impressive number 8 David Hyland to injury, with the latter stretchered off.
In a bruising battle, tries either side of the break from John Forde and Abbott, who powered over from a maul, edged Con ahead and their backs did the damage in the 66th minute.
Off a scrum on the right, the half-backs and Niall Kenneally combined to send centre Greg Higgins through a gap and he showed a clean pair of heels to the cover for a sharply-taken score.
Full-back French used all of his 6ft 2in frame to stretch out and ground the bonus point try in the 77th minute. ‘Hinch had a late consolation score from lively flanker Oli Loughead.
Garryowen were brought back down to earth by a thumping 46-5 defeat at Lansdowne. The headquarters club bounced back from last week’s loss to UCD with a superb seven-try salvo on their all-weather pitch.
Garryowen centre Bryan Fitzgerald sped in between two defenders for a 22nd-minute try, but Lansdowne were in clinical form and Andy Marks helped himself to a brace of scores.
Lansdowne’s nifty number 10 Peter Hastie finished with 16 points, getting over for a 68th minute try and splitting the posts five times.
The best team performance of the day came at Lakelands Park where Terenure College extended their winning streak to eight games with a 60-8 hammering of UCD.
‘Nure made a lightning quick start, scoring six first half tries. They showed their slick skills out wide, especially with scores from Colm de Buitléar, captain Stephen O’Neill and Craig Adams, who ran in his ninth of the campaign.
Another impressive facet of their game was the set piece. A Levi Vaughan score and a penalty try from a maul highlighted the strong attacking platform that they engineer from their lineout.
Despite a try from UCD skipper Jack Ringrose, three more tries in the second half – including winger O’Neill’s second – put the icing on the cake for Sean Skehan’s men.
Ringrose took advantage of a Michael Melia yellow card, but ‘Nure had the final say with a lovely line from Peter Sylvester and a powerful Dewald Barnard carry for two closing tries.