Ballymena 34 UCD 9
It was free admission into Eaton Park and it soon turned into the Dirkie Strydom show, as the champions Ballymena raced at the Students from the start.
Full-back Strydom, returning from South Africa put the champions into a 3-0 lead inside the first quarter with a well-struck penalty.
That remained the game’s only score, with UCD enjoying a fair share of possession, until Strydom eased over for a try and a conversion on 31 minutes.
The former international sevens player added a further penalty before the break before UCD opened their account on the blow of referee Dermot Moloney’s whistle, with a penalty from full back Alan Henry.
Ballymena winger Andy Maxwell scored a try following good work by young centre Andrew Trimble after seven minutes of the second half, with the conversion added by Strydom.
College’s Henry, on kicking duty in place of the injured Eoghan Hickey, split the posts twice before the hour mark to cut the deficit to eleven points, at 20-9.
But that was the last word from John McClean’s side as substitute scrum-half Andy Monson and Matt Waterhouse added late tries for Ballymena, both converted by Strydom, for a bonus point win.
BALLYMENA: D Strydom; M Waterhouse, A Trimble, H Jones, A Maxwell; I Humphreys, P Spence; S McConnell, S Rodgers, N McKernan, A Graham, B McCartney, M McComish, J Taggart, D Topping.
UCD: A Henry; G Hayes, J Moroney, K Kennedy, P Bredin; N McNamara, D Geraghty; J Moran, C Geoghegan, I Lynam, P Callanan, S Crawford, C Davis, N Coughlan, D Blaney.