The students survived three first half yellow cards without conceding a try and they were just a point adrift at the break, 8-9. But the second half was a stroll as they completed a 27-14 win.
Dolphin stormed to the top of the table after a bonus point victory away to Garryowen, while Young Munster enjoyed a fine on the road win against St Mary’s College.
Brian Haugh was the hero of the 26-18 win when he converted tries by Derry O’Connor and Hugh McGrath in addition to four crucial penalties.
Cork Constitution held out to secure an invaluable away win over gritty Ballynahinch, where the recently returned Shane O’Connor and Munster’s young fly-half, Johnny Holland, played significant roles. Each scored tries and Holland also kicked a penalty, leaving the rest of the scores to Daragh Lyons with three penalties and a conversion in a 24-17 win.
Former Constitution skipper Evan Ryan got one of Clontarf’s two tries but their battle with Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road ended in failure, the home side winning 24-21.
In Division 1B, AIL specialists Shannon began their campaign in a new environment on a disappointing note when they lost at home to Blackrock College. They matched the visitors try for try but Rob Keogh’s better return from the kicking tee secured the win for the visitors.
UL Bohs fell heavily to Terenure, who secured a 36-9 bonus point victory at Lakelands. Shane Airey had three consolation penalty goals for the outplayed Limerick side.
In the lower divisions, there wasn’t much joy for Munster clubs other than Cashel, who defeated Banbridge, Thomond and Nenagh Ormond, who got the better of Sunday’s Well and Midleton respectively in provincial derbies.
NUIM Barnhall beat Bruff, Queens University got the better of Highfield, Old Wesley trounced Old Crescent and Naas proved too good for UCC in Division 2A while Richmond lost away to Boyne in 2B.