Cardiff Blues P S27 Leinster 'A' 41
Leinster 'A' booked a British & Irish Cup quarter-final spot with a dramatic victory over Cardiff Blues Premiership Select at Sardis Road on Saturday.
The Cathal Marsh-led visitors were in the driving seat for large periods, before Cardiff restored parity during a frenetic second-half.
However, late tries from Gavin Mullin and Jack Kelly got Leinster over the line, and safely into the last-eight with a round of fixtures to play.
After a Ben Thomas penalty moved the hosts into an early lead, Leinster started with a seven-point salvo by the impressive Marsh.
Ciaran Frawley and Conor O'Brien then crossed over for Noel McNamara's charges as they started to take command.
Tries from Dafydd Smith and James Botham reduced the Cardiff deficit to four points (19-15) in time for the interval, only for Leinster to reinforce their superiority with a Jack Aungier try after the break.
A Marsh penalty created further daylight, but when Ben Thomas and Scott Gibson crossed for Cardiff inside the final quarter, the sides were level and the game delicately poised (27-27).
Yet, following their late surge in the Welsh venue, Leinster maintained their perfect record in this season's competition.
CARDIFF BLUES PREMIERSHIP SELECT - P Lewis; D Smith, J Roberts, J Martin, M Billen (M Llewellyn 65); B Thomas, S Gibson; C Domachowski (R Carre 62), E Lewis (I Harris 70), S Andrews (K Assiratti h-t); B Murphy, J Down; S Lewis-Hughes, J Botham (S Edwards 70), A Lawrence (O Lloyd 56).
LEINSTER 'A'- C Frawley; J Kelly, G Mullin, C O'Brien, T O'Brien; C Marsh, C Rock; P Dooley, R Kelleher (S McNulty 69), J Aungier (O Heffernan 69); Mick Kearney (O Dowling 69), I Nagle; J Murphy, Max Kearney, P Timmins.
REF - A Leal (RFU).
Qualifying for the Challenge Cup quarter-finals was surely target number one for Connacht at the start of their European campaign, yet despite achieving their primary goal, Kieran Keane was justifiably underwhelmed by the draw his team ended up with at Sixways.