High-flying UCD crashed to their first defeat of the season and relinquished their position at the top of the Ulster Bank League as Clontarf earned a 25-16 win at Castle Avenue last night.
’Tarf’s David Joyce and Niall Earls of UCD traded a brace of first-half penalties to leave it tied 6-6 at the turnaround, but the hosts found another gear in the second-half, a penalty try and Joyce’s 19-point goalkicking haul proving enough.
UCD did threaten when scoring a fortuitous try after a penalty attempt struck a post to bring it back to 19-16, but it’s the north Dubliners who now sit atop the table. Both sides have four wins from five but ’Tarf have a superior points difference.
Lansdowne saw off St Mary’s College 33-28 in a helter-skelter tie on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium, highlighted by four tries in the opening quarter.
Tyrone Moran and Mark Roche both crossed the whitewash to give Lansdowne a 12-3 lead early on only for Conor Hogan to nab two of his own for the visitors, all before the 16th minute.
A yellow card for Scott Deasy threatened to railroad Lansdowne even further but they dug in and a handful of Tom Kiersey penalties plus a Paddy O’Driscoll try had them 25-16 up at the break.
Cathal Marsh kicked a penalty in response at the start of the second-half but the scoring suddenly dried up until a Deasy penalty and a Foster Horan try earned Lansdowne the win and the bonus point by the 67th minute.
But Mary’s roared back again and tries in the final four minutes for Mark Sexton and Gareth Austin earned them two losing bonus points.
In Division 1B, Corinthians overturned an 11-0 half-time deficit to record a memorable 19-18 success against Connacht rivals Buccaneers in Galway. Sean O’Hagan’s nerveless goalkicking did the trick, including a penalty with the game’s last play, to edge it for the hosts. Their late pressure told as Buccs were down to 13 men as they desperately attempted to escape with four points.
It means the stunning start to life in Division 1B for newly-promoted Corinthians continues — this was their fifth win from as many outings and moves them top of the table, although Terenure College can leapfrog them again if they win at Trinity today.
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