UCD keep the heat on Cork Constitution in race for fourth place

University College Dublin won a thrilling Ulster Bank League Division 1A clash with leaders Lansdowne at Belfield on Saturday to maintain their challenge to finish in the top four.

UCD kept the heat on fourth-placed Cork Constitution who kept their noses in front by beating Young Munster at Clifford Park.

The two games could hardly have been more different in terms of scoring. Constitution won their game 6-3 in a typically hard-fought tussle with the Limerick side, while UCD got the better of Lansdowne in an absolute thriller.

The teams shared 10 tries in an open game before the students earned the victory on a 36-31 scoreline, Ireland Under-20 international Joey Carbery with a brace of tries.

Mike Ruddock’s Lansdowne will be disappointed, though, because they led by decent margins at various stages of the game, 10-0, 24-15, and 31-22 before collapsing near the finish.

Yet, they remain in pole position and still enjoy an eight-point advantage over Terenure College, with Clontarf a further four points adrift and Con still further back. Although the loss at Belfield was a blow, Lansdowne were happy to learn of Terenure’s defeat to Clontarf at Castle Avenue.

USA international Liam Óg Murphy’s 54th-minute try proved the difference for the reigning champions in a 16-11 win.

Given the placings in the table and recent form, it seems certain that all three Dublin sides will finish in the top four, while Con face a tough battle with UCD and Ballynahinch for fourth.

At the other end of the table, Dolphin remain in trouble despite their home win over Old Belvedere.

Once again, Munster’s Rory Scannell dictated matters for Dolphin, his chip through releasing outside centre Cian McGovern for the only try in their 13-3 win. They are bottom on 21 points while Young Munster, on 26, are facing a play-off to retain their status unless they can pull out some wins in the coming weeks and overtake Old Belvedere and St Mary’s, both of whom are two points ahead.

The battle continues at the top of Division 1B with Galwegians holding a two-point lead over Garryowen. It could all come down to the April 11 clash between the two at Crowley Park.

Down the line, Corinthians and Malone prop up the table, but neither Shannon nor UL Bohemians are safe in the two places above.

Although Blackrock College have a game in hand in second place in Division 2A, they have an impossible task in trying to catch leaders Old Wesley, who are 14 points ahead. Their form suggests they will continue to pile on the points and the wins as they go in search of the perfect unbeaten campaign.

Highfield continue on their winning ways in Division 2B, adding another scalp at the weekend by beating Navan 31-3 away. With 10 points to spare over Tullamore, they will surely have the title wrapped up before the end of the campaign, although the sides do have to meet in round 14 of 15 at Woodleigh Park.

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