Rampant UCD sweep Garryowen aside
It was business as usual at the Belfield Bowl where Ulster Bank League Division 1A pacesetters UCD brushed Garryowen aside in a 45-19 bonus point triumph.
With Leinster young guns Ross Byrne and Nick McCarthy directing operations from half-back, the students extended their winning streak to six games and pushed seven points clear of Clontarf.
Garryowen great and 1948 Grand Slam winner Paddy Reid, for whom there was a minute's silence, would have been thrilled with the running rugby on show, albeit that his beloved Light Blues were left trailing 21-7 by half-time.
Barry Daly broke through midfield to set up a fifth-minute opener for fellow winger Adam Byrne, and the long-striding Daly soon got over in the right corner for his eighth try of the league run.
Garryowen answered back with a Neil Cronin try off a five-metre scrum but the visitors fell further behind when Adam Byrne bagged his second try out wide.
UCD held firm amid some early Garryowen pressure in the second period before Daly sidestepped his way under the posts for the bonus point.
Although the Limerick men hit back with an intercept effort from Coghlan, Dan Leavy was next on the scoresheet for UCD, with Sean McNulty supplying the assist from a Ross Byrne cross-field kick.
There was still time for two more College tries in the closing quarter of an hour, Leavy completing his brace from a Jamie Glynn kick through and the forwards paving the way for full-back Billy Dardis to skip over. Garryowen openside Dave Sherry grabbed a late consolation score while UCD were down to 14 men.
Meanwhile, Scott Deasy played the captain's role as his late penalty guided Lansdowne to a gritty 19-18 victory over play-off rivals Clontarf at Castle Avenue.
The steely out-half kicked 14 points in all, including four penalties, to deny Clontarf, who had been within touching distance of the win thanks to replacement Eoghan Browne's try.
History was repeating itself as back in late November, Clontarf missed out on an away triumph over Lansdowne when a late Deasy-converted try saw Mike Ruddock's men sneak a 23-23 draw.
The north Dubliners got off to a poor start yesterday as Deasy slotted two penalties and converted returning scrum-half Adam Griggs' try - the New Zealander seized his chance to dive over from a close-in ruck.
Deasy's opposite number, Joey Carbery, showed lovely hands to create an unconverted try for winger Rob McGrath which settled 'Tarf down. Carbery tagged on a penalty early in the second half to make it 13-8. The tide seemed to be turning as Carbery soon made it a two-point game. A costly yellow card for Clontarf replacement scrum half Sam Cronin saw Deasy respond off the kicking tee and although Carbery successfully converted Browne's try, Deasy had the decisive say for the reigning champions.
Cork Constitution continued their strong start to 2016 with a 32-0 bonus point win over a well-beaten Old Belvedere side at Temple Hill.
Brian Hickey's men picked up five valuable Ulster Bank League points for the second week running, with centre Ned Hodson dotting down in each half.
Playing into the wind and rain, Con watched Belvo out-half Steve Crosbie miss an early penalty before busy blindside flanker Luke Cahill crashed over from a ruck ten metres out.
The conversion was added by Munster out-half Johnny Holland on his return from a hamstring injury, and a combination of backs and forwards teed up Hodson's opening five-pointer.
Holland sandwiched in a couple of penalties either side of half-time, leaving the Dubliners 18-0 adrift, and it got worse for the visitors when Con captain James Ryan crossed in the 48th minute.
Holland's conversion completed his 10-point haul and Hodson went on to secure the bonus point with 12 minutes left, the extras coming from the boot of replacement Darragh Lyons.
Ballynahinch recorded only their second victory in the competition when beating Galwegians 33-16 and were further helped in their bid to avoid relegation when Terenure lost to Young Munster. Chris Quinn, who contributed 18 points, was the hero.
In the first half Hinch were only 9-6 ahead with Paul Pritchard yellow carded. After the restart it was the turn of Galwegians to be reduced to 14, and Hinch extended their lead to 19-6 before Mark Kelly crossed for the visitors. More pressure opened up a 22-point advantage but the final play produced a John Cleary try for the Galway team.
Sunday Indo Sport