Having struggled past Old Belvedere last week, Division 1A leaders Lansdowne were back at full tilt today as they ran in five tries without reply to beat defending champions Clontarf 35-0 at Castle Avenue.
First half touchdowns from Scott Deasy, Tom Farrell and Cian Kelleher created the platform for this comprehensive triumph. Young centre Farrell was in sublime form, notching up the fourth try also before lock Brian Moylett added a fifth to bring the curtain down on an outstanding Lansdowne performance.
It was the seventh Ulster Bank League victory in succession for Mike Ruddock’s charges.
Clontarf had impressed in the previous round at home to St. Mary's College, so this resounding defeat to one of their title rivals will come as a big setback in their quest for a play-off position.
Ballynahinch are now just one point outside of the top four after full-back Adam Craig helped himself to a hat-trick of tries in their 34-13 bonus point success against Cork Constitution.
Ballymacarn Park is a real fortress for 'Hinch these days and having trailing 13-10 at the break, with Gerry Hurley dotting down for Con, Derek Suffern's side went on to dominate the second half as they ended the Leesiders' sixth-match unbeaten run.
While Craig showed himself to be an ace finisher, winger Ross Adair also scored his sixth try of the campaign for 'Hinch. The back-three were actually responsible for all of the hosts' points as goal-kicking winger Chris Quinn converted all four tries and kicked two penalties.
Munster's Rory Scannell was in fine form for Dolphin as the division's bottom side surprised play-off hopefuls UCD with a 32-15 defeat down in Cork.
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.
Peter McCabe 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.
However, out-half Scannell boosted Dolphin's hopes with a well-taken try which he converted himself. He followed up with an intercept effort to make it 27-10 and also added the extras to Dave Byrne's bonus point score with four minutes left.
Old Belvedere's eighth losing bonus point in as many defeats will be of little consolation to them after they were edged out 13-9 by St Mary's College at Templeville Road.
Two Josh Glynn had 'Belvo leading 6-0 at the interval, but Mary's, who sit in ninth place just below their visitors, turned things around in the second half with departing out-half Gavin Dunne playing a crucial role.
Brian McGovern came off the bench to score a converted try, cutting the gap to 9-7, and Corkman Dunne, playing his final game for Mary's, kicked them to a hard-earned victory courtesy of a cracking drop goal and a follow-up penalty.
Meanwhile, second-placed Terenure College got back to winning ways and also picked up a bonus point in their tight 22-21 defeat of hosts Young Munster at Tom Clifford Park.
Although they squandered an early nine-point advantage, Munsters were still leading 21-17 in the 59th minute following two tries from hooker Ger Slattery.
However, 'Nure, who had led 17-9 at the break, were determined not to draw a second half blank.
They clinched the result when winger Harry Moore scored his seventh try of the campaign, using his impressive pace to reach a kick ahead and dot down.
Dublin University came through a big test of their promotion credentials when they battled past Ballymena 18-16 to leapfrog the Braidmen into third place in the Division 1B table.
Trinity extended their excellent unbeaten run to nine matches with a try in each half from forwards Tom Collis and Brian du Toit, with full-back Conor Kearns kicking the rest of the points.
Ballymena had put it up to the students, building a 13-8 interval lead thanks to Sean Taylor's sixth try of the campaign and eight points from the boot of in-form out-half Ritchie McMaster.
However, the 'College Park factor' proved decisive for Trinity during the closing 40 minutes as they scored at crucial stages and showed plenty of mettle to see out a tight result.
Leaders Galwegians, who were well beaten at College Park recently, got back on track with an 18-15 victory over UL Bohemians at Thomond Park.
Young replacement Conor Lowndes landed a penalty six minutes from the end to keep 'Wegians top of the table - they are just a single point ahead of second-placed Garryowen (42 points) with Trinity and Ballymena on 39 points each.
Bohs took a 12-10 lead into the break courtesy of tries from man-of-the-match Jack O'Donoghue, who raced over from the 22 after 15 minutes, and Darren Moroney, who rounded off a good passing move on the half hour mark. Shane Airey converted the first one.
A free-flowing back-line move teed up right winger Jerome Harimate for Galwegians' first half try. John Cleary converted to add to his initial third-minute penalty.
Tighthead prop Doron McHugh got on the scoresheet with an unconverted effort for the visitors and while Robbie Bourke's penalty got Bohs back on terms at 15-all, Connacht Under-20 talent Lowndes held his nerve to convert the match-winning kick.
The much-anticipated Ulster derby between Belfast Harlequins and Malone ended up a one-sided affair as 'Quins steamrolled their way to a 32-12 win at Deramore Park.
Adam Larkin's men made it two wins in three games to boast their hopes of avoiding relegation. They also garnered their first try-scoring bonus point of the season thanks to efforts from props Mark McGrath and Charlie Sargison, Ulster lock Neil McComb and lively backs Mark Glover and Rory Scholes.
McComb's try secured the bonus point before half-time. Malone had a mountain to climb at 24-7 down and although 'Quins openside Ollie Loughead was sin-binned, the tries kept coming for the hosts with Scholes going over.
A second successful penalty from Ulster scrumhalf Michael Heaney completed the scoring for Larkin's charges who have climb to seventh in the standings - level on 20 points with sixth-placed Malone and Shannon in eighth.
The Limerick club were well-beaten by Buccaneers at Dubarry Park where the Pirates picked up a bonus point in a 25-7 success.
Shane Mullally's 76th-minute try was Shannon's only score in Athlone as Buccs led from start to finish, running in tries through back rowers Stephen McVeigh and Mata Fifita, winger Billy Henshaw and Connacht-capped full-back Shane Layden.
Meanwhile, Garryowen made it nine victories in 12 league outings with a comprehensive 39-10 triumph over Corinthians in Galway. Former Ireland Under-20 winger Alex Wootton got over for the first of the visitors' six tries, collecting the final pass from Munster's Shane Buckley.
As the hail came down on a cold and blustery day out west, the Light Blues move 15-0 clear for half-time when outside centre Andrew O'Byrne touched down.
Corinthians, who had Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun making his return from injury, hit back with a converted try from centre Dwayne Corcoran. They were denied a second one due to a knock-on near the Garryowen line, but a Conor Murphy penalty reduced the arrears to 15-10 after Buckley was yellow card.
Garryowen scrumhalf Jamie Glynn showed his versatility by replacing Joey Purcell in the centre. He took centre stage when blocking a kick, hacking through and scoring in the corner to steady Conan Doyle's men at 20-10.
The Light Blues decisively widened the margin with a John Mark Griffin close range score and try number five followed when flanker Buckley burst out of his own half to run in a fine individual effort. Corinthians conceded again late on when Garryowen hooker Ed Rossiter made it over.