Just four points separate the top six sides who can now draw breath during a two-week break in fixtures.
Benefiting from Lansdowne and Young Munster’s away defeats, Belvo have moved from third to first thanks to Willie Staunton shooting Terenure College down with a six-penalty salvo on Friday night.
Munsters had Dan Goggin and Cian Bohane in their midfield against Dublin University on Saturday, but the students have a gem of their own in young centre Michael Courtney, whose classy injury-time try secured a rousing 32-27 bonus point win at College Park.
Colm Hogan and Courtney both scored their third tries of the campaign as promoted Trinity climbed into second place, a point ahead of the Cookies.
Rob Keogh’s right boot came to Clontarf’s rescue again as his injury-time drop goal edged them past Garryowen (16-14) at Castle Avenue. Matt D’Arcy and Munster’s Alex Wootton scored two eye-catching tries from inside their own half. Second half tries from forwards Kevin Sheahan and Cathal O’Flaherty steered St. Mary’s College to their first win in three outings — a 19-13 win over UCD at Belfield.
Meanwhile, a late penalty from Rick McKenna maintained UL Bohemians’ run at the top of Division 1B, as they claimed a hard-fought 27-23 success against Galwegians in Glenina. Brian Walsh pocketed one of Bohs’ three tries, a tally matched by improving ‘Wegians who had influential Connacht prop Conan O’Donnell stretchered off in the second half.
UL’s talismanic scrum-half Cathal Sheridan also picked up an injury. Centre James Beattie crossed for two tries as Ballymena came from behind to defeat Dolphin 24-16 at Eaton Park.
Connacht Academy prop Saba Meunargia made a try-scoring return from injury as Buccaneers ran out six-try 49-36 winners over UCC at Dubarry Park. There was another free-scoring contest at Donnybrook where Old Wesley and Ballynahinch shared out eight tries, and two closing penalties from Wesley winger Barry McLaughlin proved decisive in a 35-32 victory.
Shannon are rooted to the bottom of the table after tumbling to a 14-10 home defeat at the hands of Naas, who had second-half tries from winger Rob O’Connor and player-coach Johne Murphy.