GARRYOWEN 25 LANSDOWNE 32, Dooradoyle
Lansdowne launched their Ulster Bank League campaign with a 32-25 bonus-point victory away to Garryowen.
The Light Blues battled back for a late losing bonus point, but the visitors were full value for their win which builds on their early season Leinster Senior League Cup form.
Lansdowne were 26-10 and four tries to the good by half-time, Daniel McEvoy impressing with a brace and fellow winger John O'Donnell and Ireland Sevens international Alan Bennie also touching down.
Bennie's half-back partner Scott Deasy converted three of the tries and added two second half penalties, which were needed as Garryowen finished strongly.
The hosts' new forwards coach Denis Leamy would have been pleased to see their recovery from captain Neil Cronin's 50th-minute sin-binning and a spell of uncontested scrums.
Having been down to 12 players at one stage due to injured props, Garryowen hit a purple patch with two tries in the space of five minutes from hard-working blindside Johnny Keane and Munster's David Johnston.
Scrum half Cronin converted one of them and then split the posts with a 75th-minute penalty to ensure his side got something out of the game at seven points down.
Garryowen: Alex Wootton; Hugh O'Brien-Cunningham, Andrew O'Byrne, David Johnston, Steve McMahon; Jamie Gavin, Neil Cronin (capt); Niall Horan, Eamon Costello, Mike O'Donnell, Kevin McInerney, Paul McCarroll, Johnny Keane, Elliot Fitzgerald, Bailey Faloon.
Replacements: Caolan Moloney, Sean Seymour, Dara Shanahan, Joey Purcell, Ronan O'Halloran.
Lansdowne: Eamonn Mills; John O'Donnell, Mark Roche, Tom Daly, Daniel McEvoy; Scott Deasy, Alan Bennie; Peter Dooley, Tyrone Moran, Ian Prendiville (capt), Josh O'Rourke, Stephen Gardiner, Joe McSwiney, Jack O'Sullivan, Willie Earle.
Replacements: Tom Sexton, Ntinga Mpiko, Max Deegan, Ruairi O'Farrell, Charlie McMickan.
ST MARY'S COLLEGE 16 CORK CONSTITUTION 20, Templeville Road
Cork Constitution survived a late onslaught from hosts St Mary's College to claim a deserved 20-16 win in their Ulster Bank League opener at Templeville Road.
Con captain Niall Kenneally's 41st-minute try had put 14 points between the sides and although young out-half Sean Kearns inspired a determined fight-back from Mary's, they ultimately had to settle for a losing bonus point.
A Kearns penalty on the stroke of half-time was Mary's only score of the first half, as the Leesiders turned around with a 12-3 advantage.
On their return to Division 1A, Mary's fell behind to a fifth-minute try from winger Rob Jermyn who crossed in the right corner via neat passes from Kenneally and hooker Max Abbott.
The injury-enforced departure of number 8 Kevin Sheahan, coupled with two penalty misses by Kearns, hampered Mary's and with 33 minutes on the clock, a powerful break by Kenneally paved the way for winger Liam O'Connell to notch Con's second try.
A third touchdown followed on the resumption, the impressive Jermyn breaking from deep to send centre Kenneally crashing over.
Tomas Quinlan's conversion was blocked by Terry Kennedy.Mary's dug their heels in, however, and Kearns fired over his second penalty.
Soon, the visitors lost forwards Ger Sweeney and Conor Kindregan in back-to-back sin-binnings.Just before Kindregan's return to the pitch, Kearns sidestepped his way through for a seven-pointer. He increased his influence with a curling penalty in the 73rd minute, cutting the gap to just 17-16.
Mary's were suddenly hot on Con's heels, but Brian Hickey's men eventually prevailed thanks to a coolly-struck injury-time penalty from out-half Quinlan.
St Mary's College: Jonathan McDonnell; Terry Kennedy, Ryan O'Loughlin, Ivan Dineen, Mark Fogarty; Sean Kearns, Paddy O'Driscoll; Tom O'Reilly, Hugo Kean, Brian McGovern, Ciaran Ruddock, Cathal O'Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, David Aspil, Kevin Sheahan.
Replacements: Richard Halpin, Emmet Ferron, Daragh Keller, Ian Cullinane, Zach O'Hagan.
Cork Constitution: Shane Daly; Liam O'Connell, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Brian Hayes, Darren O'Shea, Conor Kindregan, Sonny Dwyer, Evan Mintern.
Replacements: Liam O'Connor, Greg Roche, Cian Barry, Jason Higgins, JJ O'Neill.
UCD 20 CLONTARF 22, Belfield Bowl
Full-back Rob Keogh came to champions Clontarf's rescue as his late penalty saw them edge past UCD 22-20 at the Belfield Bowl.
This was a repeat of last season's Division 1A semi-final and a league debut for new UCD head coach Andy Skehan, who gave starts to Ireland Sevens international Harry McNulty and Ireland Under-20 captain James Ryan (newly signed from Lansdowne).
Clontarf wasted little time in hitting the front. Winger Rob McGrath turned a loose ball at halfway into a superbly-taken opportunist try, and five points soon followed from Keogh's reliable right boot.
However, UCD found their rhythm entering the second quarter, winger Cillian Burke slotting a penalty and then converting Stephen Murphy's try which saw the centre open up a gap with a clever dummy.
That made it 10-all for half-time, and it was tit for that in the early part of the second half. A scrum penalty saw Keogh add to his tally before a midfield break from McNulty teed up a response from Burke.
The momentum was with the students after Ireland U-20 flanker Greg Jones finished off a well-executed lineout maul, with Burke continuing his excellent form with the boot for 20-13.
But 'Tarf showed their winning mentality in a nail-biting conclusion. Two more penalties from Keogh, either side of a yellow card for UCD prop Liam Hyland, made it a one-point game with 10 minutes remaining.
Both Burke and Keogh were off target in windy conditions before the latter made no mistake with a final place-kick to bring the points back across the Liffey.
UCD: Tom Fletcher; Cillian Burke, Harry McNulty, Stephen Murphy, Hugo Keenan; Jamie Glynn (capt), Nick McCarthy; Andrew Porter, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Emmet MacMahon, James Ryan, Greg Jones, Alex Penny, Peadar Timmins.
Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Mikey Moynihan, Brian Cawley, Nick Peters, Adam Byrne.
Clontarf: Rob Keogh; Rob McGrath, Conor O'Brien, Matt D'Arcy, Michael Brown; Evan Ryan, Dermot O'Meara; Ivan Soroka, Jonathan Larbey, Royce Burke Flynn, Ben Reilly, Michael Kearney, Michael Noone, Karl Moran, Tony Ryan.
Replacements: Rory Litchfield, Eoghan Browne, Vakh Abdaladze, Andrew Feeney, Mick McGrath.
YOUNG MUNSTER 35 OLD BELVEDERE 36, Tom Clifford Park
Old Belvedere squeezed past Young Munster at the end of an enthralling contest at Greenfields, with former Cookies star Willie Staunton kicking 16 points in this 36-35 triumph.
Staunton's kicking contribution - two conversions, two penalties and two drop goals - proved vital for Belvedere as they leaked an 89th minute try to Young Munster's new flanker Dan Walsh.
The touchline conversion was missed, though, and the Dubliners hung on.Two quick-fire tries from talismanic full-back Daniel Riordan - one of them a lung-busting intercept effort - had 'Belvo leading 15-13 at the interval.
Recent Ireland Under-20 cap Walsh grabbed an early debut try for the Cookies, but Riordan sparked his side into life with scores after nine and 11 minutes.
Munsters were unable to convert their lion's share of possession into points, although full-back Paul Downes' late penalty cancelled out Staunton's 38th-minute kick to keep the two-point deficit.
It was drama all the way in a rip-roaring second half, with the Cookies, including Munster back rower Robin Copeland, clearly determined to succeed in new head coach Gearoid Prendergast's first league game in charge.
Twice the Limerick men breathlessly snatched the lead from 'Belvo's grasp thanks to tries from blindside Darren Ryan and scrum half Rob Guerin.
Downes converted both and also nudged over a penalty for a 30-26 turnaround.Staunton's boot negated the damage for 'Belvo and with time almost up, winger Shane McDonald clinically cut through to complete his second half brace. Walsh's last-gasp effort ensured both sides finished with try-scoring bonus points.
Young Munster: Paul Downes; David O'Mahony, Abrie Griesel, Jack Harrington, Tom McHale; Shane Airey, Rob Guerin; Gavin Ryan, Ger Slattery, Colm Skehan, Alan Ross, Michael Madden, Darren Ryan, Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Peter Meyer, Evan Ryan, Sean Rennison, Elie Mundu, Mark Doyle.
Old Belvedere: Daniel Riordan; Shane McDonald, Ben Woods, John Kennedy, David Brandon; Willie Staunton, Aaron Sheehan; Adam Howard, Ed Rossiter, Declan Lavery, Jack Kelly, Karl Miller, Michael Oyuga, Jonathan Slattery, Dave Sherry.
Replacements: Cathal O'Flynn, Jonathan Inglis, Tom de Jongh, Robert Cruess Callaghan, Kyle McCarthy.
TERENURE COLLEGE 18 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 25, Lakelands Park (played on Friday)
Dublin University enjoyed a winning Division 1A debut when they handed 14-man Terenure College Park a 25-18 defeat at Lakelands Park on Friday night.
Terenure were really up against it after scrum half Kevin O'Neill's 11th-minute sending-off for use of the boot, but a penalty try and a Jake Swaine effort had the hosts 12 points to the good.
A cracking offload from centre Conor Kelly released winger Swaine to go over in the 22nd minute, with full-back James O'Donoghue adding a penalty for 15-3 nearing half-time.However, Trinity hit their attacking stride before the break.
Full-back James O'Donovan impressed on a sidestepping run and then hooker Paddy Finlay rumbled over from close range.
Despite losing prop Andy Keating to the sin-bin, the students opened the second period with another try, quick turnover ball releasing centre Michael Courtney for a powerful run to the corner.
Tony Smeeth's youngsters pushed into a 22-15 lead thanks to winger Evan Dixon's 55th-minute touchdown, which saw him link neatly with his brother, centre Kyle.
Steady out-half Jack McDermott converted and tagged on a penalty to complete his 10-point haul, while a late kick from O'Donoghue gave gallant 'Nure a losing bonus point.
Terenure College: James O'Donoghue; Jake Swaine, Conor Kelly, Willie Devane, Sam Coghlan Murray; Marc Hiney, Kevin O'Neill; Kieran Moloney, Adam Clerkin, Gary Hamilton, Mike Murphy, Cathal Deans, James O'Neill, Patrick Thornton, Kyle McCoy (capt)
Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Rory Harrison, Robert Duke, Thomas Burke, Conor Finn.
Dublin University: James O'Donovan, Bryan Mollen, Michael Courtney, Kyle Dixon, Evan Dixon; Jack McDermott, Rowan Osborne; Eric O'Sullivan, Paddy Finlay, Andy Keating, Jack Burke (capt), Pierce Dargan, Sam Pim, Ross Todd, Tom Ryan.
Replacements: Liam Cronin, Fintan Murphy, Cian O'Dwyer, Daniel Joyce, Fraser Wright.
BALLYNAHINCH 35 BUCCANEERS 13, Ballymacarn Park
Ballynahinch produced a storming second-half display to run out comprehensive 35-13 winners over Buccaneers at Ballymacarn Park.
Four of 'Hinch's five converted tries came in the closing 40 minutes, including a brace from Ulster's Sam Windsor who started at inside centre.
Derek Suffern's charges had 22 points to spare when the sides met in last April's relegation/promotion play-offs, but a tight first half today ended 7-0 in the hosts' favour.
Returning full-back Steve Macauley crossed before half-time.
Chris Quinn's conversion kept the Ulstermen in front when Connacht prospect Cian Romaine replied for Buccs, early in the second period.
'Hinch gave themselves some breathing space thanks to a Conor Joyce effort, following an initial break by number 8 and captain Mike Graham.
An error-strewn spell was ended by Windsor's first try of the afternoon, cancelling out a Conor McKeon penalty, and 'Hinch's bonus point score was soon finished off by centre Jordan Grattan, rewarding an excellent carry from the restart by replacement Joe Roe.
Former Connacht back Shane Layden and Windsor swapped late tries, with Ireland Under-20 out-half Johnny McPhillips, who has moved from Queen's University to 'Hinch, nailing his fourth successful conversion.
Ballynahinch: Steve Macauley; Davy Nicholson, Jordan Grattan, Sam Windsor, Chris Quinn; Ross Carlisle, Aaron Cairns; Jonny Blair, Andrew Harper, Craig Trenier, James Simpson, John Donnan, Conor Joyce, Lorcan Dow, Mike Graham (capt).
Replacements: Stuart Orr, Joe Roe, Connor Phillips, Johnny McPhilips, Chris Gibson.
Buccaneers: Shane Layden; Rory O'Connor, Alan Gaughan, Mata Fifita, Jordan Conroy; Luke Carty, Conor McKeon; Martin Staunton, Shane Delahunt, Saba Meunargia, Ruairi Byrne, Cian Romaine, Stephen McVeigh, Evan Galvin, Kolo Kiripati (capt).
Replacements: John Sutton, Dylan Quinn, James Foley, Graham Lynch, Eoghan O'Reilly.
DOLPHIN 10 UL BOHEMIANS 41, Irish Independent Park
This was arguably the result of the day in Division 1B as UL Bohemians gave Munster rivals Dolphin a 31-point hammering in Cork.
Christy Neilan's first league game in charge of Bohs could hardly have gone any better, while David Corkery's coaching reign at Dolphin got off to a nightmare start.
Winger Harry Fleming came back to haunt his former club in the opening half, running in the first of Bohs' six tries as they took a 19-0 lead.
Fleming went over in the corner in the 16th minute, former Munster scrum half Cathal Sheridan finished off a classy team move for the second and quick hands released centre Rick McKenna to score on the half hour mark.
A penalty from out-half Cillian Monahan was Dolphin's only first half response at 19-3, but UL's bonus point was secured by replacement Finbar Aherne in the 52nd minute.
Gobbling up a 68th minute intercept, winger Jamie McNamara impressively burst clear from his own 22 to run in the Red Robins' fifth try of this one-sided encounter, and a McKenna penalty widened the margin to 34-3.
Although Dolphin debutant Cameron O'Shaughnessy came off the bench to score a 78th-minute consolation effort, barely a minute later Cian Aherne was over at the other end to have the final say for Bohs.
Dolphin: Cian Daly; Gerry Ryan, Cian McGovern, Ian O'Donoghue, Will Hanly; Cillian Monahan, Daryl Foley; James Rochford, Caolan O'Flynn, Liam Walsh, John Madigan, Dave O'Mahony (capt), Karl Keogh, Kevin Allen, Barry Fitzgerald.
Replacements: Shane Bushe, Dave Hartnett, Ryan Murphy, Cameron O'Shaughnessy, Killian O'Keeffe.
UL Bohemians: Colin Ryan; Jamie McNamara, Cian Aherne, Rick McKenna, Harry Fleming; Robbie Bourke, Cathal Sheridan; Eamon Boland, Joe Bennett, Peter King, Ed Kelly, Noel Kinane, James Ryan, Ian Condell (capt), Brian Walsh.
Replacements: Phil Poillot, Joe Moloney, Pat Staff, Joe Murray, Finbar Aherne.
NAAS 18 GALWEGIANS 13, Forenaughts
Johne Murphy's Naas ground out a hard-fought 18-13 victory over Galwegians in front of their home support at Forenaughts.
Last season's Division 2A champions had scrum half Peter Osborne to thank for their winning start in the second tier, as he nailed two penalties in the 72nd and 74th minutes to decide this gripping game.
Defences were on top until Fionn Carr, Connacht's record try scorer who is back on the domestic club scene with Naas, ran in a typically swashbuckling try from deep, 29 minutes in.
Mitch Lam, the son of Carr's former provincial coach Pat Lam, replied with a penalty for Galwegians, but Naas' 18-stone powerhouse centre Henry Bryce crossed courtesy of a charge-down on the stroke of half-time.
The Kildare club's 12-3 lead at the break was eaten into by new out-half Lam's second penalty, seven minutes into the second half.
Indeed, 'Wegians hit the front with little over 10 minutes remaining, Connacht Academy winger Ed O'Keeffe breaking free to open his try account for the season and Lam's conversion made it 13-12.
But Murphy's men roused themselves for a big finish, winning a couple of kickable penalties which the 24-year-old Osborne sent through the uprights with great aplomb.
Naas: Fionn Higgins; Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Henry Bryce, Andrew Shanahan; Ben Swindlehurst, Peter Osborne; Dan O'Beirn, Charlie Kings, Jason Harney, David Benn, Paul Monahan, Ryan Casey, Will O'Brien, Paulie Tolofua.
Replacements: Conor Johnson, Adam Coyle, Eoin Walsh, Warren Larkin, Michael Skelton.
Galwegians: Adam Leavy; Matthew Byrne, Cormac Brennan, Brian Murphy (capt), Ed O'Keeffe; Mitch Lam, Barry Lee; Jason East, Jack Dinneen, Conan O'Donnell, Matt Towey, Eoin Tarmey, Paul Hacket, Josh Pim, Anthony Ryan.
Replacements: Patrick Curran, John Moloney, Ronan Moore, Aidan Moynihan, Dave Clarke.
SHANNON 19 BALLYMENA 25, Thomond Park back pitch
Ballymena did all their scoring in the first half as they got the better of Shannon, earning a 25-19 triumph on Thomond Park's back pitch.
Mark Best's league debut for the Braidmen saw him score 15 points, with his new back-line colleagues, Rodger McBurney and Jordan Foster, also touching.
It was effectively Ronan McKenna versus Best inside the opening quarter of the hour, as the pair scored 10 points apiece.
Shannon out-half McKenna touched down in the second minute, following up on a Richie Mullane chip, but just three minutes later Ulster squad member Best proved unstoppable when fed quick lineout ball in midfield.
Both tries were converted and McKenna and Best exchanged penalties before a well-worked try from strong-running full-back McBurney had the visitors leading 15-10.
Although McKenna thumped over a fine penalty on the half hour mark, Ballymena answered back with 10 points before the break - Foster got on the scoresheet and Best was successful with two more kicks.
Marcus Horan's side improved on the restart, McKenna landing two of his three penalty attempts between the 45th and 50th minutes.
Ballymena kept them out during a sin-bin period and despite picking up a losing bonus point for their efforts, Shannon were left to rue two attacks that saw them held up over the Ballymena try-line.
Shannon: Stephen Fitzgerald; Richie Mullane, Shane Mullally, Robert Deegan, Tim Tobin; Ronan McKenna, Keith Kavanagh; Conor Glynn, Ty Chan, Tony Cusack, Barrie Duggan, Riley Winter, Brian Downey, James Vaughan, Lee Nicholas.
Replacements: Niall Mulcahy, John Andress, Jack Foley, Sean Markham, Ben Sargent.
Ballymena: Rodger McBurney; Jordan Foster, Paddy James, Mark Best, Jonny Rosborough; Glenn Baillie, John Creighton; Michael Lagan, Adam McBurney, Chris Cundell, David Whann, Kieran Treadwell, Connor Smyth, Stephen Mulholland, Matthew Rea.
Replacements: Andrew Ferguson, James Taggart, James Gallagher, Tony McGinness, Richie McMaster.
UCC 20 OLD WESLEY 23, the Mardyke
Barry McLaughlin's place-kicking proved to be the difference at the Mardyke where Old Wesley overcame UCC 23-20.
UCC's maiden outing in Division 1B seemed to be going to plan as they built a 10-7 half-time lead, aided by flanker Conor Barry's converted try.
But the Cork youngsters had to endure a difficult spell after the break, with out-half Charlie O'Regan seeing yellow for taking a player out in the air.
A high tackle then allowed McLaughlin to kick Wesley level and he punished UCC's indiscipline again to move his side back in front at 13-10.
Lock Richard Moran was next to be binned for the hosts, the resulting penalty arrowed over by McLaughlin, but a great long range strike from UCC winger Kevin O'Keeffe kept the deficit at three points.
Although McLaughlin's radar was off for his next attempt, Wesley's new Kiwi centre Isaac Leota delighted the travelling support with his break and offload for Paul Harte's 69th-minute try, converted by 13-point winger McLaughlin.
That concession seemed to bring the best out of this young UCC team, who won back possession at a Wesley lineout and it was prop Peter McCabe who barged through to make it 23-20.
UCC pressed and pressed in the dying minutes, but Wesley scrambled well and controlled possession in their own half to see out a hard-earned first win.
UCC: Chris McAuliffe; Kevin O'Keeffe, Kevin Slater (capt), Murray Linn, Cillian Ansbro; Charlie O'Regan, Richard Walsh; Peter McCabe, Ben Burns, Charlie Slowey, Ben Mitchell, Richard Moran, Conor Barry, Cathal Gallagher, Daire Feeney.
Replacements: Danny Collins, Emmett McCarthey, Darragh Moloney, Graham Smith, James Kiernan.
Old Wesley: Rory Stynes; Barry McLaughlin, Isaac Leota, Ger Finucane, Paul Harte; Tim Clifford, Ian Cassidy; Martin Gately, Craig Telford, David Henshaw, Michael Dunleavy, Iain McGann, Darren Horan (capt), Stephen Boyle, Josh Hinde.
Replacements: Andrew McCrann, Ivan Campbell, Mark Rowley, James Nolan, Adam Kennedy.