Lansdowne issued a serious statement of intent at Templeville Road in this Ulster Bank League ‘Friday Night Lights’ encounter, as St Mary’s College fell to their fifth defeat of the season.
The visitors had enjoyed a dream start when young out-half Conor McKeon’s lay-off enabled right-wing Cian Kelleher to cross over two minutes in for a converted score.
However, Mary’s restored parity on 16 minutes when a maul on the right-flank was finished off by No 8 Nick Timoney, and reliable full-back Gavin Dunne kicked the bonus strike.
Lansdowne continued to threaten and although Dunne added a close-range effort from a penalty on the stroke of 40 minutes, a well-worked try by flanker Aaron Conneely seven minutes earlier had helped them towards a 14-10 interval cushion.
A penalty by Dunne 13 minutes into the half reduced Lansdowne’s lead to a solitary point, but during the final-quarter, Lansdowne significantly upped the level of their performance.
A Tom Farrell touchdown 18 minutes from time helped to calm their nerves, before further tries from Eoghan Quinn, Stephen Gardiner and Gardiner made certain of their bonus-point triumph.
With tempers fraying in second-half stoppage-time, Brian McGovern of Mary’s and Lansdowne’s Gardiner were sent to the sin-bin prior to Cathal Marsh’s consolation score.
Scorers for St Mary’s College: N Timoney, C Marsh try each, G Dunne 2 pens, 2 cons.
Scorers for Lansdowne: T Farrell 2 tries, C Kelleher, A Conneely, E Quinn, S Gardiner try each, C McKeon 2 cons, S Deasy 2 cons.
ST MARY’S COLLEGE: G Dunne; C Toolan, R O’Loughlin, M Sexton, M O’Driscoll; C Marsh, D Fanagan; T O’Reilly, S McCarthy, B McGovern; D O’Connor, S Bradshaw; R Sweeney, C Oliver, N Timoney.
Replacements: K Sheahan for Sweeney (36), C Ruddock for O’Connor (47), R O’Loughlin for Oliver (47-57), O’Connor for Bradshaw (60), O’Donovan for McCarthy (74).
LANSDOWNE: S Deasy; C Kelleher, T Farrell, T Daly, E Quinn; C McKeon, P O’Driscoll; I Prendiville. T Moran, A Boland; S Gardiner, B Moylett; J McSwiney, A Conneely, R Boucher.
Replacements: P Reilly for Boland (61), D Donnellan for Moran, E Torrie for O’Driscoll (both 66), Boland for Prendiville (74), J O’Brien for Reilly (74).
Referee: O Hodges (IRFU).