UCD’s hard-working forward unit won the day as they conjured up a last-gasp try for Kevin Croke, which Leinster squad member Fergus McFadden converted, to secure crucial points and push them away from the danger zone.
Another of the students’ Leinster-capped players, Kevin McLaughlin, breached the home line to put the visitors 7-0 ahead at half-time while Clontarf responded with a try from Phil Howard and a penalty from Darragh O’Shea to edge them in front until that late strike.
At Clifford Park, struggling Young Munster managed to inflict yet another defeat on Terenure, who now appear to be doomed to a lower division after this latest reversal.
Young Munster needed the win but still find themselves second from bottom.
Young Munster turned around with a 15-0 advantage after Mark McHugh, Munster squad member Mike Prendergast and Cian Clohessy, a nephew of Peter, set up Clem Casey’s try and the pack then drove Brendan Guilfoyle over before the break. Terenure’s only response was a late David McAllister penalty.
The UCD win was welcomed at Musgrave Park, where Dolphin, aided by a strong wind, carved out a 14-7 half-time advantage over Blackrock College before going on to secure a 19-15 win and a move over the Dublin side into second place.
With three games postponed, amongst them the much awaited ‘Match of the Day’ between Cork Constitution and Shannon, UL Bohemians did manage to get a fixture out of the way against Dungannon and came out on the right side to keep themselves in a relatively strong position.
Backed by the gale and the torrential rain in the first half, UL Bohemians could manage only a penalty from Aidan McNulty but just on half-time Dungannon had flanker Derek Hall sin-binned.
Turning with the wind at their backs, the visitors would have been favourites to repeat their win of last season but McNulty landed an early second half penalty for the home side. They did enough to secure the win when Colman Finn grabbed the only try of the game.
Old Belvedere claimed a much-needed win in the wind and rain at Eaton Park, ending a run of four league defeats as winger Eamonn Fitzgerald’s haul of four penalty goals helped them overcome Ballymena.
Bruff’s credentials as serious challengers for the second division title cannot be in doubt despite their narrow defeat to leaders Lansdowne in Dublin.
This was a hard fought battle that ended with Bruff being edged out by just two penalty goals from Carl Oousthuizen.
With the drama being played out at nearby Merrion Road, Malone were unable to take advantage of the postponements and abandoned fixtures.
They allowed DLSP escape with a 9-3 win as Instonians produced the real shock result of the day at Shaws Bridge with a 28-8 win over Greystones.
Thomond, meanwhile, secured a boost with a 3-3 draw away to Dublin University.
In division three, leaders Queens University had a good 26-15 away win over Connemara but Midleton kept pace with a facile 22-0 victory over Corinthians at Towns Park.
County Carlow won 15-5 at Banbridge to secure third place ahead of Corinthians and Portadown, who themselves had a 17-5 win over Naas. Waterpark lost for an eighth successive weekend, 11-22 against Barnhall, and are bankers to lose their senior status at the end of the season.