Terenure College, Dublin University and Ballynahinch are the leading trio in Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A following a high-scoring second round.
Dublin University retained the Dudley Cup by beating arch rivals UCD 38-24, a second-minute Ronan Quinn try from a speedy counter attack setting them on their way in front of the College Park faithful.
A Lee Barron yellow card for a deliberate slap down evened up the numbers, and UCD took a 7-5 lead when Sean O’Brien thundered over from the resulting scrum.
However, Trinity were 17-12 to the good by half-time. Replacement hooker Jack Manzo broke from a 17th-minute maul and offloaded brilliantly for captain Louis O’Reilly to cross in the right corner.
Leinster Academy back rower O’Brien was unstoppable again from a five-metre scrum, but Diarmuid McCormack restored the hosts’ lead, crashing over from close range after Aran Egan had threatened from a chip and chase.
Mark Fleming’s sin-binning went unpunished until the third quarter, the impressive Paddy McCarthy going close before Ruadhan Byron – well supported by Max Dunne – burrowed over from a couple of metres out. Egan’s kick made it 24-12.
Despite losing McCormack to the bin, Tony Smeeth’s side extended their advantage when tighthead Thomas Connolly drove over in the 58th minute.
Harry Donnelly sent Dylan O’Grady over out wide for UCD’s third try, closing the gap to 31-19, only for Trinity’s Colm Hogan to respond by squeezing in under the posts, following a Cormac King pass, for their sixth score.
It was a valiant effort from UCD and, past the 80-minute mark, they picked up their second bonus point of the campaign. Fleming scored from a well-executed lineout drive.
Terenure College’s terrific start to the new season continued with an emphatic 47-12 victory over Cork Constitution at Lakelands Park.
Scoring all seven tries inside the opening 40 minutes, Sean Skehan’s men had a couple of maul efforts from Jordan Coghlan and captain Harrison Brewer. There were further scores from Craig Adams, Callum Smith, Caolan Dooley, Adam La Grue and Conall Boomer.
Centres Colm de Buitléar and Peter Sylvester were key to Terenure’s sharp showing in attack. The former raced up to win a penalty, from which Coghlan crossed for his second maul try to make it 14-0 after just 15 minutes.
The twinkle-toed running of full-back La Grue took ‘Nure quickly back to the Con 22, and the phases were built for flanker Boomer to score. Out-half Smith knocked over his third conversion.
An Adams break had the Dubliners racing again into try-scoring range, Dooley managing to collect a deflected pass from his fellow winger to touch down in the right corner.
Try number five followed in the blink of an eye, Levi Vaughan bulldozing through and a quick recycle allowed Smith to ghost through a gap and go in under the posts.
La Grue followed up with an intercept try to chalk up the 40 points, and Adams got in on the act just before half-time. He profited from Smith’s initial break to hold off a defender and twist and turn to get the ball down.
Credit to Jonny Holland’s Con team, they dominated possession for most of the second half despite being hit by that 47-point landslide. They also went down to 14 men on the hour mark.
Con claimed two consolation scores, the first one a powerful maul effort finished by Billy Scannell. Skipper Aidan Moynihan’s well-measured cross-field kick put centre Greg Higgins over to complete the scoring.
Dylan Donnellan scored his third try of the season and led by example as stand-in captain as Clontarf won their heavyweight clash with Lansdowne, prevailing 27-19.
Due to start at out-half for Lansdowne, Leinster’s Harry Byrne pulled out during the warm-up at Castle Avenue. Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam winner Charlie Tector replaced him with Cillian Redmond coming onto the bench.
Early in the second quarter, ‘Tarf broke the deadlock when hooker Donnellan proved deadly again from just a few metres out. Conor Kelly converted for a 7-0 lead.
Andy Wood’s charges doubled their lead to 14 points some ten minutes later. Tony Ryan’s break lit the touch paper and scrum half Angus Lloyd was rewarded for his support line with a classy try, converted by Kelly.
Young tighthead Ben Griffin added try number three following a lineout maul, but Lansdowne cancelled that out to reduce the arrears to 21-7 at half-time.
Centre Conall Doherty slipped through a gap to score in the 39th minute, and a series of pick-and-goes resulted in Lansdowne skipper Clive Ross crossing just three minutes into the second half. Tector’s boot brought it back to a seven-point game.
However, the Wexford youngster saw yellow in the 48th minute for a deliberate knock-on. During his absence, Kelly landed a penalty to keep ‘Tarf on track.
Former Connacht winger Peter Sullivan raised Lansdowne’s hopes with a 77th-minute try in the corner, but Kelly clinched the result for the north Dubliners with a last-minute penalty from in front of the posts.
Ballynahinch went up a couple of gears in the second half to beat Shannon 41-8. Greg Hutley converted tries from Bradley Luney, Aaron Cairns (2), Jamie Macartney and Zack McCall and kicked two penalties.
Scrum half Aran Hehir captained Shannon on the day and picked up their only try, Kelvin Brown and Lee Nicholas putting in big shifts up front but a series of yellow cards – three in all – really dented their chances.
In the evening kick-off, a late Evan Cusack penalty guided Young Munster to a 26-23 derby success against Garryowen in front of a large crowd at Tom Clifford Park.
Their scrum dominance was an important factor for the Cookies, while Munster Academy out-half Tony Butler starred for the Light Blues with two tries, two conversions and three penalties.
Butler’s early intercept try set Garryowen on their way to 17-16 half-time lead. His opposite number Cusack replied with two penalties to make it a one-point game and it was nip and tuck from there.
The Limerick rivals both added 10 points to their tallies approaching the break, with Butler completing his brace and Cusack’s right-footed dink finding Jack Harrington who stepped inside and finished smartly for Munsters’ opening try.
Butler booted two second half penalties, sandwiching a penalty try for the hosts after their powerful scrum had forced three penalties in quick succession near the Garryowen line.
It was Cusack who decided the outcome, splitting the posts in the final minutes as Munsters ground out their first win of the league campaign. It comes just a week after they lost in similar circumstances to Cork Constitution.