Munster’s Rory Scannell was in fine form for Dolphin as Division 1A’s bottom side surprised play-off hopefuls UCD with a 34-15 defeat down in Cork on Saturday.
Rory Scannell's haul of 24 points included two tries, four conversions and two penalties. Steve Ford's men are really turning their season around – this was their first bonus point win of the season and comes on the back of last week's hard-earned triumph over Young Munster.
Ken O'Halloran and Donagh Lawler exchanged tries in the first half and the students were very much in contention, just three points down (13-10) entering the closing quarter.
Hooker O'Halloran made it over after just five minutes as Dolphin enjoyed a morale-boosting start. Scannell converted but the home defence was under the most pressure during the opening 40 minutes with UCD's lively back-line constantly probing.
Sam Coghlan Murray was a live threat from full-back and he did brilliantly to set up flanker Lawler's 27th minute try. Liam Bourke, starting in place of Ross Byrne at out-half, converted.
Scannell's second successful penalty saw the Cork side take a 13-7 advantage into the second period, but Bourke responded with a crisp 45th minute strike after a strong UCD scrum.
It was all hands to the pump for Dolphin when they had lock Chris Rowe sin-binned in the 56th minute. However, the UCD attack never really hit top form and Scannell (pictured above) soon emerged as the match winner.
Just six minutes after Rowe's yellow card, the Dolphin out-half skilfully opened up the UCD defence to run in a very well-taken try which he converted himself for 20-10.
Scannell followed up with a terrific intercept effort, breaking clear from just outside his 22 to put Dolphin in bonus point territory at 27-10 and UCD were effectively out for the count.
With the students down to 14 men, the hosts sealed their five-point return when prop Peter McCabe (pictured below) picked up possession following a maul in front of the UCD posts to touch down. Scannell converted to complete his memorable 24-point tally.
UCD gained some late consolation in the form of a Brian Cawley try in injury-time, but Bobby Byrne's side were well beaten on the day and will hope for a much better performance and result when Clontarf come calling on January 31.
Praising Scannell's man-of-the-match contribution afterwards, Dolphin boss Ford told the Irish Examiner: “Rory's a super talent and I believe he can go on and flourish at Munster. I worked with him as a schoolboy at Pres where he also shone and gave indications that he could go onto better things.
“I think we've turned a corner on and off the field. A lot of players were putting their hands up this week for selection, and those who performed today did well. It was a well-deserved victory over a very dangerous team.
“We showed great hunger out there, especially with the game at 13-10 early in the second half and UCD were gaining momentum the boys stuck at it, put in the tackles time after time and got their reward.”
Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)