Leinster duo leave Lansdowne in bonus territory
LANSDOWNE are back at the top of Division 1A following a five-try 37-7 demolition of Dolphin at Lansdowne Road.
The fact that they picked up a bonus point means they move ahead of Garryowen on points difference, with Young Munster five points behind.
The top two will clash at Dooradoyle when the competition resumes on January 26. That promises to be a fascinating struggle.
Two of Lansdowne's Leinster representatives played prominent roles against Dolphin, scrum-half John Cooney getting two tries, with flanker Jordi Murphy also touching down.
The others came from Mark Roche and Willie Earle, with Craig Ronaldson's boot responsible for the remainder of their points.
Dolphin had an early try from Rory Scannell, converted by Barry Keeshan.
Garryowen got the better of Cork Con 20-14 at Temple Hill. The defeat is a major blow to Con's title ambitions as they have now fallen nine points behind the top two. Young Munster kept up their challenge with a runaway 40-3 bonus-point home success over Old Belvedere. Darragh O'Neill (two), Neville Melbourne and Lukas Kuntz scored their tries, while Brian Haugh contributed 20 points with his boot.
Ballynahinch stay comfortably out in front in Division 1B after drawing 15-15 with Malone at Gibson Park.
Second-placed Dublin University surprisingly suffered their second successive defeat, losing 20-16 at home to Belfast Harlequins. Rising Ulster star Stuart Olding was the difference, contributing 15 points with a try, two conversions and two penalties.
Third-placed Buccaneers are now within two points of Dublin University after beating UCD 25-20 at Dubarry Park. Jack Carty, Alex Hayman and Billy Henshaw scored their tries.
At the other end of the table, Blackrock College recorded a vital 6-3 away victory over fellow strugglers Bruff, while the game between the two bottom sides, Ballymena and Dungannon, finished in a 9-9 draw.