Clontarf used their strong defence to great effect when they picked up four more Ulster Bank League points, at Temple Hill on Saturday, and bolstered their position, in second place, behind UCD.
It was a disappointing day for Constitution, in this second successive home defeat.
Clontarf used their resources well, defended brilliantly, and struck with a couple of excellent tries.
Head coach, Andy Wood, was well-pleased: “When you come to Con, you know you’re going to get a huge physical examination and we got that; we had to bring a bit of line speed to the game and it’s pleasing when all that work pays off.
“We put a lot of pressure on them, particularly when they came around the corner at us. The last minutes were tough and we got a couple of good turnovers, but that was down to hammer-and-tongs for the full 80.
"You had to be very precise as a ball-carrier. We got some turnovers and probably the most crucial was just before half-time, when they were attacking our line.
“We’re where we want to be, in the top four, but we’ve got Young Munster next week, and then Ballynahinch, who are scrapping for their lives, so that won’t be easy, by any stretch of the imagination. We’re counting on nothing.
"We’ll maybe talk a bit more after those two matches, because we’ll know better where we stand.”
Wood also included Con in the title hunt. “With the quality they have in the squad, they’ll turn over sides above them, as well.”
Con skipper, James Ryan, hopes that’s the case and vows they won’t give up. His side remains in fifth position, just a point behind Garryowen and one ahead of champions, Lansdowne. Con have a game in hand over both.
“Look, we’re disappointed, because it was a game we could have won. We should have scored before half-time, after applying a lot of pressure, and that would have made a difference.
“We got a harsh call on a scrum that was driving forward and it was a key point in the game.
“Overall, I was pleased with the forward effort, but we seemed to turn over a lot of ball.
“Look, I suppose this result has been the story of our season, in a sense. We haven’t lost a game by more than seven. We’ve picked up losing bonus points in all the games we’ve lost, so that tells you how close it has been.”
Not close enough, though, with Clontarf’s first-quarter 13 points proving vital. Joseph Carbery kicked two penalties and converted a fine, 20th minute try from winger, Michael Brown.
Darragh Lyons hit back with three penalties, but a 62nd minute breakaway try, scored ultimately by Brown, proved too big a burden for Con to bear, although a late penalty from Lyons gave them a bonus.
J White, A Spring, N Hodson, R Horgan, R Jermyn, D Lyons, R Foley, G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney, B Hayes, C Kindregan, G Lawlor, J Murphy, J Ryan (captain).
L O’Connor, B Quinlan, C O’Flaherty, L Cahill, T Quinlan.
J Carbery, M Brown, C O’Shea, M D’Arcy, M McGrath, E Ryan, S Cronin, I Soroka, B Byrne, V Abdaladze, T Byrne, B Reilly (captain), M Noone, A Darcy, A Ryan.
A Dundon, E Browne, I Hirst, D O’Meara, D Joyce.
L Colgan (IRFU)