Dunne boots late drop-goal to deny valiant Young Munster
THERE are already strong indications that Cork Constitution, Old Belvedere and St Mary's College will claim the three Ulster Bank League Division 1A semi-final spots.
St Mary's 13-11 victory over Young Munster at Templeville Road means that they lie in third spot, seven points clear of fourth-placed Young Munster. As things stand, there are two distinct groups.
Young Munster, for example, may be fourth but they are still only three points ahead of bottom team, Blackrock. That said, their recent form suggests that they are capable of staying out of trouble.
Having trounced Dolphin in their last outing, they came within a whisker of upsetting St Mary's. It took a late drop-goal from substitute Gavin Dunne to secure victory for the home side.
Dolphin travelled to Stradbrook and defeated Blackrock 32-16. Yet again, the boot of Barry Keeshan was vital, the Dolphin captain contributing 22 points.
With Garryowen having beaten Shannon on Friday night, there are now just three points separating the bottom five teams.
Clontarf stay out in front in Division 1B, but second-placed Buccaneers also remain live contenders.
Bernard Jackman could not fault his Clontarf side as they scored five tries to see off Galwegians 30-10 at Castle Avenue. They are now five points clear at the top, but Buccaneers do have a game in hand and the manner of their 35-8 home victory over Bruff suggests that they are not going to give up easily.
After holding a slender 10-8 lead at the interval, they cut loose in the second half with 25 unanswered points.
Lansdowne stay in third in spite of going down to a surprise 16-11 away defeat to UCC. UL Bohemians moved into fourth spot with a 32-22 home victory over Dungannon.
In Division 2, the unbeaten pair of Ballynahinch and UCD sit pretty at the summit. The Ulstermen's bonus points have them out in front and they clocked up an impressive 59-21 away win over Malone. UCD meanwhile saw off Terenure 27-13 in the Dublin derby.
Bective kept pace with a 23-16 win over Trinity, while Midleton's 13-6 win over Old Crescent moves them into fourth. Belfast Harlequins' 34-27 win over Corinthians has them upwardly mobile, while Ballymena slipped up at DLSP, 29-22. Queens hammered Clonakilty 44-25 and Old Wesley ran up a 48-10 win over Thomond.
In Division 3, Instonians left Merrion Road with a 27-12 win over Wanderers and continue to lead the race for promotion. Hot on their heels are Seapoint, who beat Connemara 35-6. City of Derry saw off Navan 31-10. Banbridge's 26-25 win over Greystones keeps them in the hunt, while Naas beat NUIM Barnhall 9-6, Sunday's Well beat Highfield 15-3, Suttonians beat Ards 22-11 and Nenagh raided Rainey, winning 17-11.