Lansdowne win table-top battle and forge clear

Ulster Bank All-Ireland League: Lansdowne will enjoy the festive period that little bit more than their Division 1A rivals after defeating Young Munster 30-24 in a supercharged top of the table clash on Saturday.

Mike Ruddock’s men hold a four-point lead at the Ulster Bank League’s halfway point, with only third-placed Young Munster able to match the headquarters club’s haul of six try-scoring bonus points this season.

Two of Lansdowne’s four tries on the day came from Daniel McEvoy, with his fourth score of the campaign, and fellow winger Marc O’Keefe, who has touched down three times in two games. But they needed a late penalty from Scott Deasy to hold off the fast-finishing Cookies.

Despite falling to their second straight defeat, Munsters will take heart from a performance that earned them two bonus points on the road, with winger Craig O’Hanlon claiming two of their four tries. Gearoid Prendergast’s charges will regroup and look to make up lost ground in their January 28 rematch with Lansdowne.

Winger David Brandon bagged two tries as Old Belvedere ended a three-match losing streak with a 15-0 home win over St. Mary’s College, while seven-try Cork Constitution ran out comprehensive 50-25 winners over UCD at Temple Hill. The Leesiders have climbed into second place with out-half Tomas Quinlan grabbing one of their tries and kicking 15 points.

Matt D’Arcy ran in his seventh try of the season to set Clontarf on their way to a 33-0 victory over below-par Dublin University at Castle Avenue. The defending champions have moved into the top half of the table ahead of a longer-than-usual Christmas break.

Munster Academy winger Steven McMahon had a dream outing at Dooradoyle, scoring a hat-trick of tries as Garryowen enjoyed a convincing 41-12 bonus point win over bottom side Terenure College.

Meanwhile, Division 1B leaders Buccaneers hit Ballymena with 15 unanswered points in the second half, including tries from Shane Layden and Callum Boland, as they came away from Eaton Park with a hard-earned 18-13 victory.

Centre Cormac Brennan and fit-again full-back Ciarán Gaffney both scored braces as Galwegians put their bad recent run of form behind them to hammer Shannon 53-12 at Crowley Park.

UL Bohemian needed a Robbie Bourke penalty with the last kick of the game to see off the challenge of a spirited UCC side, 18-17, on the UL 4G pitch. In an exciting Colours clash, the hosts had two first-half tries, including a superb length-of-the-field effort from Harry Fleming, which were cancelled out by UCC flanker Conor Barry’s fourth of the campaign and a further touchdown from James Kiernan.


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