Ulster Bank League Division 1 A round-up : Winger Michael Brown bagged a try in each half as Clontarf ran out deserved 18-12 winners over Cork Constitution at Temple Hill.
With leaders UCD losing at Terenure on Friday night, ’Tarf succeeded in closing the gap at the summit to a single point as the avenged an October defeat to Cork Con.
Two early penalties from outhalf Joey Carbery set them on their way, and Brown's 22nd-minute converted try came from cleanly-won lineout possession and neat hands in the backs.
Playing into a strong wind, Darragh Lyons’s penalty on the half hour mark opened Con’s account as they trailed 13-3 at the interval.
Two more penalties from the experienced No 10 had the Leesiders even closer just six minutes into the second half.
However, some crisp interplay between backs and forwards created the opening for Brown’s 64th-minute score, and Con could only respond with a Lyons penalty two minutes from the end.
Galwegians caused one of the shocks of the day in the as they defeated play-off chasers Garryowen 30-17 at Crowley Park.
The third-from-bottom westerners won for the first time in five outings, with lively left winger John Cleary helping himself to a brace of tries.
Number 8 Anthony Ryan finished off some free-flowing build-up play for the opening try in the 11th minute, although Garryowen's third scrum penalty saw Neil Cronin cut the gap to 5-3.
However, a turnover straight from the restart saw Cleary break free to go over in the right corner and Connacht’s Shane O’Leary nailed a superb touchline conversion.
Try number three came from promising hooker Jack Dinneen whose big hand-off saw him power over from the 22-metre line. O'Leary converted and landed a drop goal before Garryowen outhalf Andrew O'Byrne seized on a loose ball to dot down just before half-time.
The Light Blues reduced the arrears further from 22-10 to 22-17 thanks to a lineout maul try from replacement front rower JP Cooney on the hour mark.
But back came 'Wegians, grabbing their bonus-point score within five minutes as Cleary finished off following a tremendous break by his wing colleague Adam Leavy.
A second drop goal from outhalf O’Leary in the 74th minute made certain of the win for Matt Brown’s charges, who still have a battle on their hands with Terenure – lying in the relegation play-off spot – just two points behind them.
Old Belvedere put a run of four straight league defeats behind them with an excellent 26-15 win over Lansdowne on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch.
'Belvo showed impressive resilience as they bounced back from leaking a try to Lansdowne captain Scott Deasy after just 40 seconds of the game.
The headquarters club still led 15-13 at the turnaround, with Deasy's Ireland Club XV colleague Mark Roche going over in the corner for their second try.
However, the visitors drew confidence from centre Steve Crosbie’s first-half touchdown and the Leinster prospect played a pivotal role for them in the second half.
Crosbie knocked over a penalty from 45 metres out for a 16-15 lead and although he missed a couple of difficult place kicks, the former Ireland under-20 international registered his fourth successful penalty with four minutes left.
Just as Lansdowne attempted to hit back, 'Belvo outhalf Willie Staunton picked off a stray pass for a decisive breakaway try. Replacement Charlie Rock converted to seal a morale-boosting result for Paul Cunningham's men.
With their local rivals Garryowen losing in Galway, Young Munster dug deep to see off Ballynahinch's challenge on a 7-6 scoreline in Greenfields.
Third-placed Young Munster have opened up a nine-point lead on Garryowen, who currently hold the fourth and final play-off place, and David Corkery’s side sit just three points off the summit.
The Cookies had to work very hard to beat bottom side Ballynahinch at Tom Clifford Park where, despite the strong wind, conditions were much better than they were for last week’s 29-13 win over Galwegians.
'Hinch were first to have the wind at their backs and penalties by winger Chris Quinn after 4 and 24 minutes had them in front. Even though they were down to 14 men for a spell, they held onto their 6-0 advantage up to half-time.
Nonetheless, just nine minutes into the second half and following a series of close-in scrums, Munsters were awarded a penalty try which outhalf Gearoid Lyons converted.
The home side, who also had a player sin-binned, were unable to add to their tally in what turned out to be a real dogfight. Coupled with their fifth successive triumph, there was another positive for the Cookies as backrower Sean Rennison came on for the final eight minutes to end his lengthy injury lay-off.