Dublin University 28 Garryowen 37
Garryowen have climbed into second place in Ulster Bank League Division 1A thanks to a free-flowing 37-28 bonus point win over Dublin University at College Park.
Munster Academy winger Liam Coombes starred with a hat-trick of tries in a thrilling nine-try encounter which saw Trinity also pick up a try-scoring bonus point.
The students made the early running in cold and crisp conditions and hit the front in the 14th minute, a well-executed lineout maul seeing their American second row recruit Alex McDonald reach over in the corner.
James Fennelly nailed the difficult conversion - the first of his four successful kicks on the day - but Garryowen full-back David Johnston took advantage of some loose defending to make it 7-5 by the end of the first quarter.
A penalty from captain Neil Cronin nudged the Light Blues ahead before the 6ft 3in Coombes opened his account via a clever attack on the half hour, and he then pounced for another try on the stroke of half-time.
That left Trinity 20-7 in arrears and with their Ulster and Munster-capped scrum half Angus Lloyd having to go off injured, they had it all to do. They were right back in it, though, when in-form full-back Michael Silvester squeezed over in the corner for his fourth try of the campaign.
Frustratingly for Tony Smeeth and his fellow coaches, the students slumped when allowing Garryowen through for a quick-fire double, as their defence out wide was again found wanting.
Coombes nabbed his third try and the bonus point in the 52nd minute, and replacement James McInerney got on the scoresheet three minutes later. That put 20 points between the sides and a final penalty from Cronin, 10 minutes from time, completed the visitors' handsome haul.
Either side of that kick, Trinity found their rhythm again to secure a hard-earned bonus point late on. Centre Kyle Dixon profited from some purposeful phase play to score in the 63rd minute, and Ireland Under-20 international Silvester combined with skipper Michael Courtney to take his season's haul to five tries so far.
Buccaneers 19-13 UCD
There was delight all round for bottom side Buccaneers as they ended their seven-match losing streak by taking a 19-13 verdict at home to UCD.
Buccs captain Shane Layden chipped in with a try and in-form winger Rory O'Connor also touched down for the seventh time this season, while there were big performances from half-backs Luke Carty, who kicked nine points off the tee, and Connacht's Conor McKeon, whose energy and effectiveness around the park earned him the man-of-the-match award.
It was the fleet-footed O'Connor who opened the scoring in the fifth minute, expertly running in a breakaway score against the run of play. Carty and Harry Byrne, younger brother of Leinster’s Ross Byrne, swapped penalties soon after.
However, the students failed to fully capitalise on a Buccs yellow card and the Pirates caught them napping with a quickly-taken penalty as centre Layden dotted down in the corner for the hosts' second unconverted try.
Byrne fired a penalty over from in front of the midlanders' posts, rewarding Peadar Timmins and the UCD pack for a strong finish to the first half at 13-6 down.
A well-struck penalty from Carty restored Buccs' 10-point advantage, but UCD set up a dramatic final quarter of an hour with a terrific team try, started by a Ciaran Frawley break from deep and finished off by lock Emmet MacMahon touching down at the posts.
Although Byrne's conversion made it a three-point game, a final penalty from Carty gave Buccs just enough breathing space to see out the result. Their gritty defence denied UCD on a couple of occasions, forcing a vital knock-on near their try-line and then holding out from a late five-metre lineout.
Cork Con' 21 St Mary's 19
Tomas Quinlan rescued a crucial win from the jaws of defeat for Cork Constitution as they pipped St. Mary's College 21-19 at Temple Hill.
Quinlan's late penalty denied struggling St. Mary's their first victory in four rounds, despite an all-round impressive performance from Peter Burke's side.
Half-backs Jason Higgins and Aidan Moynihan drove Constitution into an early 10-point lead, the nippy scrum half weighing in with a try and former Galwegian Moynihan kicking the other points.
Conor Dean, son of current Ireland team manager Paul, opened Mary's account with a 14th minute penalty, before a kick head by Brian Hayes led to alert flanker Graeme Lawler touching down.
However, the Dubliners had the better of the exchanges before half-time, centre Marcus O'Driscoll leaving the defence for dead with a top-class sidestep as he ran in a try, which was converted by out-half Dean who also added a late penalty.
The 15-13 deficit at the break was erased by Dean's well-struck 55th-minute penalty, the only score of a defence-dominated third quarter that saw the tackle count spiral.
Quinlan replaced Moynihan and restored Con's lead with a 67th minute penalty. Mary's battling qualities came to the fore as they set up a 73rd minute kick which Dean nailed for a 19-18 lead.
Staring at their fourth defeat in eight games, Cork Con showed exactly why they won the title last season. One final push earned them a shot at glory and Quinlan, the man-of-the-match in last May's final, showed his undoubted class again with a coolly-struck match winner.
Young Munster 22 Clontarf 23
Young replacement Conor Kelly landed the decisive penalty with the last kick of the game as Clontarf claimed a breathless 23-22 victory at Young Munster.
Munsters fell 15 points in arrears and came back to lead twice in the second half, however 'Tarf had the final say as Kelly nervelessly kicked his first Ulster Bank League points.
The Cookies will feel that they were soft concessions, but the north Dubliners touched down twice inside the opening 25 minutes to move 15 points clear.
Adding to David Joyce's early penalty, Rob McGrath and Munster Academy back Jack Power both crossed the whitewash but that brought the best out of Munsters whose former captain Ger Slattery led by example.
The experienced Munster-capped hooker muscled over from a 38th minute try, which Alan Tynan converted, and the hosts, who relied on a strong set piece platform, ground out a second seven-pointer finished off by industrious openside Dan Walsh.
With the gap now down to a single point (15-14), the Greenfields faithful roared with delight as the home pack remained on the front foot and Slattery completed his brace, five minutes after the break.
However, Gearoid Prendergast's charges, who are now eight points outside of the top four, lapsed at crucial stages and failed to make the most of their scoring opportunities.
Instead, it was promising young centre Sean O'Brien who struck out wide for 'Tarf's third try of the afternoon, and although a Tynan penalty had Munsters five minutes away from a gutsy win, the visitors forced a last-gasp infringement which Kelly gleefully turned into the match-winning score.
Lansdowne 21 Terenure College 13
Lansdowne have pushed 10 points clear at the top of the Division 1A standings, having won 21-13 in Friday's tense top of the clash with Terenure College.
Mike Ruddock's men dug out their eighth successive victory of the league run, landing a crucial blow on the hour mark when winger Daniel McEvoy scored a breakaway try while the hosts were down to 13 men.
A tightly-contested first half on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch ended 6-3 in Lansdowne's favour, with their talismanic out-half Scott Deasy landing penalties after 10 and 24 minutes, either side of a lone James Thornton effort at the other end.
The game, a cagey affair up to that point, began to open up in the second period as great work from Lansdowne full-back Eamonn Mills, who regained his feet and held off a couple of defenders, saw him feed supporting winger Mark O'Keefe for a 48th minute try from close range.
Two sin-binnings in the space of six minutes threatened to derail Lansdowne, and their lead was duly cut to five points - 13-8 - when number 8 Eoin Joyce crashed over for Terenure's opening five-pointer.
Skipper Robbie Smyth and towering lock Alex Thompson led a workmanlike 'Nure pack, but Landowne's tricky wingers were proving tough to quieten down, even with a couple of players in the bin.
Leinster scrum half Charlie Rock, who made a big impact off the Lansdowne bench, exploited some space with a clever kick towards the right corner and McEvoy stole a march on the 'Nure cover to gobble up the bouncing ball and cross to restore the 10-point advantage.
James Blaney's men kept the pressure on with another forwards-inspired try as Joyce bagged his brace for the night, making it 18-13 with a quarter of an hour remaining.
However, Deasy landed the second of two penalty attempts in the closing stages, punishing Terenure for a rather unfortunate offside from a knock-on. It took away the losing bonus point and 'Nure's growing frustration saw them end the game with 14 players.