Garryowen take full advantage as leaders falter

GARRYOWEN took full advantage of Cork Con’s slip-up at Blackrock College by surging to the top of the AIB All-Ireland League with a 45-7 demolition of Ballymena.

The Light Blues were in ruthless form, with Kevin Hartigan crossing twice while Lorcan Burke, David Sherry, Willie Staunton and Neville Melbourne also getting over.

An injury-time drop-goal from out-half Barry Keeshan pulled the game out of the fire for Dolphin at struggling Young Munster, as David O’Mahony’s side claimed a 10-7 win.

Clem Casey’s first-half try, converted by Matt Costelloe, had Munsters in charge, but Robbie Allen got over for Dolphin on 52 minutes with Keeshan adding the extras, before claiming the points at the death.

They stay fourth, ahead of Shannon on points difference after the Limerick side struggled to a 23-19 win over mid-table Old Belvedere. Second-half tries from forwards Eoghan Grace and Padraic O’Brien steered them home, after Dave Mongan and Leo Auva’a had given Belvo a shock 12-0 lead early on..

Clontarf and Buccaneers shared out 11 tries in a free-flowing, attack-dominated clash at Castle Avenue, with the north Dubliners running out 46-26 winners.

Some lacklustre defending from Buccs let them down, particularly in a first half which ended 34-7 in the home side’s favour. Former Buccs man Niall O’Brien claimed a hat-trick for ‘Tarf.

UL Bohemians consolidated their eighth-place position — an important one as the division splits into two tiers of eight next term — by winning 30-25 at UCD, largely thanks to James O’Neill’s triple.

St Mary’s lie one place above Bohs following a 38-17 win over Galwegians in a game lit up by former Ireland U-20 hooker Richie Sweeney’s fabulous individual try.

A brace from Paul Magee helped Dungannon ease their relegation fears with a 22-8 win at Terenure College, who along with Young Munster, need a miracle to stay up.

UCC and Lansdowne are still in pole position for promotion from Division Two after picking up notable away wins. College hammered Greystones 46-3, while Lansdowne ground out a 17-7 success at Highfield. Ballynahinch — eight points behind College but with a game in hand — stayed in the hunt with a 22-20 win at Bruff.

Clonakilty boosted their chances of staying up with a 24-9 defeat of Bective at Shannonvale, while Thomond did likewise by seeing off Wanderers 19-9.

Corinthians 49-3 hammering of already-relegated Waterpark has them four points clear at the summit of Division Three.

Old Wesley — 40-6 winners over Connemara — and Queens University, who ousted Co Carlow 27-20, are still in touch in second and third respectively.

Midleton’s promotion hopes have all but dissolved after they lost 14-8 at Nenagh Ormond, while at the other end, Sunday’s Well struck a notable psychological blow by defeating fellow strugglers Barnhall 12-3.

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