The west Cork side are the only Division Two side left in the draw for next month’s cup semi-finals, with heavyweights Garryowen, Shannon or Belfast Harlequins to provide their opposition after their fifth win on the trot.
In the sides’ first ever clash, the Cork outfit raced into a 26-10 half-time lead with Derek Dillon, Dan Spencer, Eoin Murphy and Colin Murphy all grabbing tries. Hooker Alfie Harte kicked three first-half conversions.
Clon centre Paul Dillon scooted in for a 44th-minute try to leave the result in little doubt, although cousins Mark and Kevin Mahony did hit back for ‘Nure.
Coach Terry Dillon said he was “surprised and delighted” with the victory and said that for a recently promoted Division Two side to win against top-flight opposition in Dublin was no mean achievement.
He said that while Terenure may have been a little complacent facing a team of “country boys” he was delighted at the manner in which his players took every chance that came their way and then defended robustly when they had to.
“We had a lot of the ball in the first half and we pretty much took everything that came our way and then in the last 20 minutes when we were under the cosh a bit, we kept our heads and weathered it through,” Dillon said.
He admitted that with Garryowen, Shannon and Belfast Harlequins the other three sides left in the competition, Clon will be facing an uphill struggle whoever they draw in the semi-final.
“It was probably a big ask to make it this far and it will be a bigger one to progress, but everything is a bonus for us now. In fairness, our main focus from the start of the year has been on maintaining Division Two status and we are still concentrating on that. Maybe teams will take more notice of us now and perhaps it might have been better for us to fly under the radar a bit more than we have, but I’m not complaining,” Dillon said.
Meanwhile Munster’s Alan Quinlan made an appearance for Shannon at the Belfield Bowl on Saturday, helping the league champions win through to the semi-finals of the AIB Cup.
Quinlan played from the start but his influence was kept to a minimum in the opening period as UCD, with flanker Kevin Croke at his energetic best, took a 21-10 lead into the break.
Tries from full-back Conor Quinn, Croke and Vasily Artemiev, the Leinster Academy’s Russian-born winger, saw the students streak ahead.
Quinn’s 15th-minute opener was a thing of beauty as the ball was worked through 12 pairs of hands before the former Munster U19 player slid over for Fergus McFadden to convert.
However the students lost their way in the early part of the second half as they had Matt Nagle (45 minutes) and Killian Lett (60) yellow carded and Shannon capitalised.
Limerick footballer Stephen Kelly scored a peach of a try in the 50th minute as, in a move created by Munster’s Mossie Lawlor, he timed his run on the right flank to perfection. He succeeded in collecting Lawlor’s lobbed kick forward, at lightning speed, to cross for his sixth try of the season.
Andrew Thompson’s conversion cut the gap to 21-17 and Shannon dominated the closing stages with No 8 David Quinlan, who also touched down in the first half, ending a 35-metre sprint with his second try and pacy hooker Sean Cronin weaving through the gaps for a deserved score, as UCD’s challenge wilted.
At Dooradoyle, Munster’s Eoghan Hickey rifled over an extra-time penalty to guide Garryowen past St Mary’s, 16-13.
St Mary’s were left floundering as Hickey’s kicking haul of 11 points proved vital in a high quality and card-less encounter well refereed by Ulster’s Simon McDowell.
Flanker Mark Melbourne took quick ruck ball and burst over for a 26th-minute Garryowen try.
Jonathan Sexton’s two penalties cut the deficit to 7-6 at half time and after a powerful charge by Hugh Hogan, the Leinster out-half then beat off three tacklers to touch down.
Drama followed as number 10 Hickey landed two penalties to level the tie — it was 13-13 after 80 minutes — and he whacked over the winner, from close to the halfway line, two minutes into extra time.
Belfast Harlequins continued their recent rich vein of form by ending Galwegians’ bid at Deramore Park 22-19.