Aherne on double as Lansdowne pull further ahead
Young Munster 17
Cian Aherne was the star of the show on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch yesterday, as his brace of tries helped a rampant Lansdowne to pull 14 points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the table.
Deadly accurate outhalf Craig Ronaldson got the ball rolling with a third-minute penalty for the hosts, and he was also on hand to convert Ron Boucher's try five minutes later. Aherne crossed over for the first of his scores 12 minutes into the action, before a penalty from Shane O'Leary finally opened the Young Munster account towards the end of the opening quarter. It didn't take Mike Ruddock's charges long to settle back into their groove, though, as Aherne's second try edged them into a 17-point cushion.
Young Munster, 22-3 behind at the interval, continued to battle right until the end, and thanks to tries from Darragh O'Neill and replacement Hugh McGrath, they were able to curb Lansdowne's influence to some degree.
But Lansdowne had more than enough in the tank to push on for victory, and thanks to further five-pointers after the break courtesy of centre Mark Roche and Ronaldson, they were able to secure another precious bonus-point triumph.
St Mary's 25
Second-half tries from Rob Hudson and Gareth Austin proved crucial at Templeville Road as St Mary's College registered their fourth win in succession in an entertaining clash with Garryowen.
Connacht star Matt Jarvis kept the Limerick side in contention for most of the game but 20 minutes in Steve Toal-Lennon broke through for the opening try of the contest. Jarvis's penalty kicking had Garryowen 10-9 behind at the break and another put his side in front early in the second half.
However, a Gavin Dunne penalty and a converted try by Hudson with 10 minutes turned the tide. A third try from Austin ensured that Mary's were the victors in the end.
Cork Con 26
Bottom club Shannon gave notice that relegation is far from their minds as they turned on the style when giving their best display of this season at Coonagh.
They ran in six tries by James Luxton and Neil Ronan, both converted by Rob Guerin, who also added the points to tries by Eric Moloney (2), Dave O'Donovan and John Shine.
UL Bohemian 9
Dolphin eased their relegation worries with this win over fellow strugglers UL Bohemian at Musgrave Park.
The home side can thank the boot of Barry Keeshan, who kicked four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion. Tries from John Gleeson and James Cronin helped Dolphin to a 21-3 interval lead. Ben Martin kicked three penalties for the visitors.
Ballynahinch sparkled in the sunshine at Kilballyowen and inflicted one of the biggest ever defeats on Bruff. Stuart Morrow scored two of the Ballynahinch tries with Michael Lawton also getting a try as well as eight conversions.
Belfast Harlequins 22
An even first half but then Malone with the better possession pulled away after the restart. Unfortunately it was a game marred with too many penalties, with both teams just scoring two tries.
It was a terrible day for Dungannon, who let in 14 tries. They were 34-3 in arrears at half-time but then the students piled on the pressure, with winger Sam Coghlan-Murray showing his speed and determination with a total of three tries.
Dublin University 23
Tries from Paddy Lavelle and Niyi Adeolukun were of vital importance at College Park as Dublin University maintained their push for promotion with a dramatic victory over Buccaneers.
This was an improved performance by Ballymena but after being 20-5 down at the interval they had a virtually impossible task afterwards. They managed three tries but the stronger visiting team ran in four for a bonus-point victory.