Wingers Daniel McEvoy and Peter Sullivan each scored braces as Lansdowne earned a bonus point win against UCD, running out 57-31 victors on the Aviva Stadiums back pitch, while Clontarf also earned a big win in the week 16 fixtures.
The headquarters club bounced back from their defeat against league leaders Cork Constitute two weeks ago, Sullivan continuing his fine form. He has now scored ten tries in seven games since the turn of the year. Lansdowne established a 24-12 half time lead and hardly looked back.
McEvoy matched Sullivan’s brace, taking his own season tally to nine with a try on 51 minutes which had UCD very much still in the game at just five points back.
However the students’ discipline let them down at a crucial stage, back to back yellow cards encouraged the home side to flood forward and they soon took advantage on the scoreboard.
A maul try from Leinster hooker Ronan Kelleher kicked off a profitable spell as the margin quickly widened to 45-19.
Willie Fay and Harry Brennan also got in on the act but the defending champions will have been disappointed to concede five tries on the back of their defeat against Cork.
Lansdowne remain in third place in the table with two games to play, eight points adrift of leaders Cork and one point behind Clontarf who also earned a victory in week 16.
Tarf continued their push for a home semi-final with a 29-12 bonus point victory over Garryowen in Dooradoyle. Tyet scored a pair of tries in each half to remain a point and a place above defending champions Lansdowne.
The away side started well and soon turned their pressure into points, Munster scrum half Angus Lloyd opening the scoring after being played in by Matt D’Arcy. David Joyce converted and also added the extra points for Vakh Adaladze’s barnstormer on 31 minutes, the prop burst through the Garryowen defence after picking up the ball following a loose lineout, and evaded a last ditch tackle attempt to score.
14-0 was the half time score and this lead was soon increased thanks to Joyce’s 45th-minute penalty and an intercept try from well-positioned winger Cian O’Donoghue who broke clear from his own 22 to put 24 points between the sides.
The hosts responded on the hour mark and the deficit was halved with fifteen minutes remaining.
However just as the comeback looked like it could be on, one of Clontarf’s reserves, Leinster sub-Academy teenager Conor Kelly, swept over for the bonus point-clinching try as the north Dubliners slammed the door shut on the home side’s comeback bid.