Ahern hat-trick sinks Mary's
A hat-trick of tries from Cian Ahern paved the way for Lansdowne's victory over reigning champions St Mary's College at Templeville Road, as Mike Ruddock's charges maintained their 100pc start to the league campaign.
The league leaders went in front on 14 minutes when out-half Craig Ronaldson weaved over the whitewash after a quick ball from the scrum by John Cooney.
Three minutes later, Cooney broke into the '22' and offloaded for winger Ahern to touch down in the corner. A missed penalty at the end of the opening period by Steve Toal Lennon meant Mary's had to wait until the second half to open their account, though two penalties by Lennon reduced the deficit to six 12 minutes after the restart.
The decisive score arrived 57 minutes in, when Mary's full-back Conor Hogan had his clearance charged down by Ahern, who ran over for his second try.
A penalty by Gavin Dunne six minutes from time offered Mary's some hope, but further tries at the death from Ahern and Mark Roche eased Lansdowne home.
ST MARY'S COLLEGE -- C Hogan; R Crotty, S Toal Lennon, M O'Driscoll, C Lilly; A Burke (G Dunne 68), M D'Arcy; C McMahon (Robert Sweeney 47), Richard Sweeney, J McGrath (A Lyons 68), C Ruddock, G Sexton (R O'Loughlin 56), D Keller, G Austin, K Sheehan.
LANSDOWNE -- R McCarron (M Roche 56); C Ahern, S Gahan, S Carey, C Toolan (P O'Driscoll 71); C Ronaldson, J Cooney; J O'Connell (R Prenderville 79), T Sexton (S Collins 68), M Moore, M Feeley, W Earl (T Beirne 51-76), C Ross, C Butterworth, R Boucher.
REF -- D Wilkinson (IRFU).