Glasgow 23 Leinster 30
Glasgow’s quest to earn a money-spinning home Celtic Cup quarter-final ended in frustration at Hughenden tonight.
Newport-Gwent Dragons snuffed out Connacht to claim the precious fourth spot in the league – then the battling Scots failed to beat Lion-packed Leinster.
Glasgow had the better of the nervy opening exchanges but could not turn their early pressure into precious points, with their visitors content to attack on the break.
Having weathered the initial storm, Leinster began to step up the tempo and only a brilliant chase and tackle by Rory Lamont prevented Gary Brown from ending the deadlock.
The speedy Brown was foiled again after slick work by Girvan Dempsey and it seemed only a matter of time before the Irishmen would surge ahead.
And the breakthrough was made by stand-off David Holwell with a close-range penalty which had been mysteriously upgraded by referee Phil Fear.
Glasgow replied in positive fashion with Andy Henderson and Kevin Tkachuk being blocked just a couple of paces short of the target.
They did not go unrewarded, however, as Dan Parks slotted an easy penalty when the Leinster back-row left the scrum too early.
It was the Dubliners who snatched the initiative before the break, creating a well-worked try in the wake of a sloppy clearance by Calvin Howarth.
Gordon D’Arcy made the first inroads before Brown provided the link for Dempsey to scamper in beside the posts.
Holwell added the extras – then banged over another penalty in stoppage time to open up a 10-point gap.
The pattern continued after the restart with Holwell completing his penalty treble when the home backline sneaked offside.
Then came the moment the home fans were craving as Rory Lamont battered his way through three challenges to claim a great touchdown – Parks converting from a tricky angle.
Two minutes later, the contest was blown wide open when Parks dashed 60 metres for a solo interception try then again slotting the goal.
As the frantic action hotted up further, winger Kieren Lewis edged Leinster back in front with a score in the corner, converted by Holwell.
The Glasgow jitters were eased with another Parks penalty, but the cheers turned to groans when he was wide with his next attempt.
Parks made amends by rediscovering his accuracy to level the tussle – only for Ben Gissing to snap up Leinster’s decisive third try, goaled by Holwell.