UCD ground out a 26-3 bonus point win over Bruff at Kilballyowen Park on Saturday. They got the result despite being reduced to 14 players twice in the second half, while Bruff had a player in the sin-bin for the last ten minutes.
UCD led 7-0 at the interval after excellent winger Barry Daly grabbed a 15th minute try which James Thornton converted.
The tall former Ireland Under-20 international collected a Bruff clearance and countered brilliantly from the halfway line, using his speed and strength to outmanoeuvre five defenders on the way to the try-line.
Bruff came to the boil towards the end of the first half but Daly showed his capabilities in defence with a try-saving tackle in the corner.
Bruff continued to improve in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Out-half Brian Cahill kicked a penalty from in front of the posts after UCD were reduced to 14 men for killing quick ruck ball.
Despite the best efforts of Maurice O'Connell and the Bruff pack, they failed to muscle their way over for a try having tried the scrummaging route rather than kicking penalties.
UCD held out and number 10 Thornton relieved the pressure with a vital clearance kick. The complexion of the game changed as the Belfield outfit pounced for tries after 63 and 68 minutes.
Replacement Jordan Coghlan got on the end of a pacy move to finish the first one, and number 8 Danny Kenny then ran in an intercept effort from halfway, showing good hands to control the ball after some initial juggling.
Thornton converted and with second-from-bottom Bruff struggling to respond, UCD annexed a late bonus point as flanker Conor Gilsenan dotted down after the opportunity was created by Mark McGroarty and Emmet MacMahon.
Niall Earls' conversion was the final scoring act of the students' first ever win at Kilballyowen Park, and their second successive bonus point triumph in the league.
Bobby Byrne's youngsters are now up to third in the Division 1B standings, but there are some big tests looming – a visit to leaders Ballynahinch is next up for them and then the crunch Colours clash with second-placed Trinity.
Referee: Nigel Correll (IRFU)