Wootton gives Garryowen shot at safety
Alex Wootton's late try proved hugely significant as Garryowen outgunned Old Belvedere 26-19 in the battle of Division 1A's bottom two teams at sun-kissed Dooradoyle.
The defeat condemns Belvedere to relegation with one round remaining, while Wootton's precious bonus-point score, which came soon after Liam Coombes' sixth try of the campaign, gives the Light Blues a shot at avoiding the relegation play-off spot.
Belvo erased an early 14-0 deficit thanks to a Jonathan Slattery try and three Shane McDonald penalties before lock Jack Kelly's 75th-minute touchdown had them on the cusp of a stunning comeback victory. However, they were undone late on by the pace of Coombes and Munster starlet Wootton.
Garryowen, Dublin University and Terenure College are level on 35 points - seven clear of Belvo - with next Saturday's final round set to decide who ends up in the play-offs alongside three promotion hopefuls from Division 1B.
Terenure turned on the style to beat leaders Lansdowne 36-17 at Lakelands. Young centre Ted O'Donoghue, who was playing schools rugby last year, was one of their four try-scorers and they also had a penalty try.
Teenage out-half Alan Tynan kicked Young Munster to a 3-0 win over top-four rivals Cork Constitution at Tom Clifford Park. His 38th-minute penalty proved to be the only score.
Constitution have fallen to fourth in the table but are only a point behind Munsters, Clontarf and Lansdowne ahead of a mouth-watering final round.
Meanwhile, in Division 1B, it will be automatic relegation or the play-offs for Galwegians after they went down 24-22 to UCC at the Mardyke, where flanker Daire Feeney's bonus-point score, superbly converted by Kevin O'Keeffe, proved decisive.
Aided by a second-half penalty try and Ronan McKenna's 69th-minute penalty, Shannon secured their divisional status despite losing 19-13 to Buccaneers.
Two second-half penalties from James Lennon guided second-placed UL Bohemians to a 13-8 success at 'Hinch, while Naas ran riot in the second-half to hammer Ballymena 40-15 at Forenaughts.
Dolphin's late season revival continued yesterday as they turned the tables on Old Wesley, winning 22-10 at Irish Independent Park to keep alive their hopes of staying up.
The surprise result has moved Dolphin up to ninth (30 points), two points clear of bottom side 'Wegians, with Ballymena (34) in their sights. Wesley's defeat has left the door ajar for UCC who could still reach the promotion play-offs.