St Mary's College trounced hitherto unbeaten Young Munster in a one-sided affair to get the New Year off to a disappointing start for the Clifford Park faithful, many of whom departed long before the finish.
Four tries and a bonus point win was the perfect start for St Mary's who could hardly have anticipated such a wide winning margin at a venue they have always found it difficult to win and now they take over top spot in the table.
Young Munster were on top in the opening minutes but they fell behind after five minutes when they were penalised for not releasing the ball and Gavin Dunne had little trouble giving the Dubliners a splendid start.
The lead lasted only three minutes when Willie Staunton landed a penalty after The Saints were also penalised for playing the ball on the ground.
Young Munster suffered a blow when winger Darragh O'Neill had to retire injured and Aaron Carroll took his place after thirteen minutes.
The first major bit of action from either backline saw Andrew Burke make a great break for the home side and this ultimately led to a penalty for the home side which Staunton converted to have his side in front for the first time this year.
St Mary's, too, began to move the ball about and when they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position, they surprised home supporters by opting to kick to touch inside the 22. They forced another penalty after winning the line-out which they attempted to take quickly. Young Munster hooker Ger Slattery held back Matt D'Arcy and Dunne tied it up at 6-6 with a penalty from almost in front of the posts.
Referee Alain Rolland sent Slattery to the bin and while he was out of the action St Mary's got in for a well-worked try. It all came after Dunne had made a mark in his own 22, he took the kick quickly and after several players were involved Matt D'Arcy popped up to take the final pass for a try that Dunne converted.
St Mary's started the second half in whirlwind manner and two tries inside three minutes were to virtually decide the issue. First it was D'Arcy who sniped through a hesitant defence after only five minutes and straight away Saints struck again and this time it was Steve Grissing who got the touchdown and Dunne saw his conversion come back off the woodwork.
The bigger than usual home supporters began to drift away once St Mary's had their fourth try after 63 minutes when Ciaran Ruddock raced through and Dunne converted to make it 30-6.
Worse followed for Young Munster when Dunne landed a long range penalty and by now the result was crystal clear.
With their proud unbeaten run in tatters Young Munster conceded yet another penalty three minutes later and Dunne tapped over.
After Mark Sexton was yellow carded for a late tackle six minutes from the end Young Munster finally got in for a try in the corner by Aaron Carroll.
Scorers Young Munster: A Carroll try, W Staunton 2 pens.
St Mary's College: M D'Arcy 2 tries, S Grissing, C Ruddock tries, G Dunne 4 pens, 2 cons.
Young Munster: M Costelloe; M Doyle, M Kelliher, A Burke, D O'Neill; W Staunton, M Prendergast; H McGrath, G Slattery, A Cotter; S O' Neill, D Gallagher; L Og Murphy, J O'Neill, N Melbourne.
St Mary's College: G Dunne; D Hudson, S Grissing, M Sexton, C Lilly; P Brophy, M D'Arcy; J McGrath, Richard Sweeney, Rob Sweeney; G Logan, S. Bradshaw; C Ruddock, G Austin, H Hogan.
Referee: A Rolland, IRFU.
Old Belvedere 7, Cork Constitution 9.
Cork Constitution got their title hopes back on track with a win over the side that defeated them in last season's League final with a narrow victory at Anglesea Road.
The home side still looking for their first win of the season were the better side in the opening half and took the lead with a well worked try by Diarmuid Riordan which Aidan Wynne converted.
Gerry Hurley replied with a penalty for Con' who trailed 7-3 at the break.
The visitors improved in the second half and two penalties by Johnny Holland the second minutes from time saw the Temple Hill side go home with the spoils.
Con' must now return to the capital next week to face new league leaders St. Mary's College in a crucial game.
Scorers Old Belvedere: D Riordan try, A Wynne con.
Cork Constitution: G Hurley pen, J Holland 2 pens.
Old Belvedere: D Riordan; P Woods, J Kennedy, B Woods, D Mongan; A Wynne, S Keogh; V Soden, M Cooney, B O'Dea; R Leyden (c);, D Moore; B Smyth, R Oyuga, C Mallon.
Replacements used for Old Belvedere: P O'Regan, A Dunne, E Devitt.
Cork Constitution: D Lyons; R Clune, S Scanlon, I Dineen, N O'Driscoll; J Holland, G Hurley; B Cagney, A Cudmore, John Ryan; B Hayes (c), I Nagle; A McSwiney, B O'Hara, James Ryan.
Replacements used for Cork Constitution: K Stokes, A White, D Williams, C Quinn.
Referee: E O'Dowd (IRFU)
Dolphin 9, Clontarf 3.
Barry Keeshan playing his hundredth All Ireland League game for Dolphin celebrated it in style as he kicked all his side's points in this victory over Clontarf at Musgrave Park.
This result was a big blow to the Dublin's side's hopes of winning the league, while for Dolphin it was a crucial victory as they try to avoid relegation.
A penalty and a drop goal by Keeshan had the home side ahead after twelve minutes. Noel Reid reduced the deficit with a penalty minutes later and four minutes before the break Keeshan kicked his second penalty for a 9-3 half time lead.
Neither side managed to increase their tally after the break.
Scorers Dolphin: B Keeshan 2 pens, drp gl.
Clontarf: N Reid pen.
Lansdowne 30, Garryowen 13.
Lansdowne moved ahead of the Limerick side in the table with this victory on the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.
Lansdowne led 15-3 at half time with tries from Cian Aherne and Ross McCarron and Craig Ronaldson kicked a conversion and a penalty. Fergal Lawlor replied with a penalty for the Light Blues.
McCarron and Willie Earle scored second half tries to secure the bonus point and Ronaldson kicked a conversion and penalty. Garryowen replied with tries by Ian Hanley and Paul Neville.
Scorers Lansdowne: Ross Mccarron 2 tries, Cian Aherne and Willie Earle tries, Craig Ronaldson 2 cons, 2 pens.
Garryowen: Ian Hanley and Paul Neville tries, Fergal Lawlor pen.
Blackrock College 30, Shannon 15;
Blackrock moved off the foot of the table with this bonus point victory over Shannon at Stradbrook.
In an evenly fought opening half Blackrock led 15-12 at the interval with tries from Rob Keogh and Alex Dunlop. Darragh Fitzpatrick kicked a conversion and penalty and Tadhg Bennett replied with four penalties for Shannon.
Further tries from Mark Scott-Lennon and Jan-Simon Byrne secured the bonus point for the home side and Andrew Letham kicked a conversion and penalty. Shannon's only reply was a fifth penalty from Bennett.
Scorers Blackrock College: Rob Keogh, Alex Dunlop, Mark Scott-Lennon, Jan-Simon Byrne tries, Darragh Fitzpatrick, Andrew Letham con and pen each.
Shannon: Tadhg Bennett 5 pens.
Galwegians 22, U.L. Bohemian 24.
Trailing 22-3 at one stage U.L. Bohemian staged a great recovery to take the points in this Division 1B contest at Crowley Park.
The home side were 22-9 ahead at half time with JJ Hanrahan kicking three penalties for UL Bohemian.
Hanrahan reduced the deficit with his fourth penalty before a try by Ben Martin which Hanrahan converted left three points between the sides. Sean Henry got in for a second try ten minutes from time to ease the Limerick side's relegation worries.
Scorers Galwegians: Penalty try, Colin Conroy, John Cleary tries, Tadhg Leader 2 cons & pen.
UL Bohemian: Sean Henry, Ben Martin tries, JJ Hanrahan 4 pens and con.
U.C.C. 22, Buccaneers 18.
U.C.C. won their first game of the league with a win over Buccaneers in a closely fought contest at the Mardyke.
The visitors had the better of the exchanges in the opening half and led 8-6 at the interval. Paul Harte scored a try for the Westerners and Aidan Kennedy kicked a penalty. Brian Kingston replied with two penalties for the students.
Shane Layton scored a try for Buccs after the break and Kennedy converted and also added a penalty. Paddy Ryan replied with a try for the home side and Kingston converted and kicked three penalties.
Scorers U.C.C.: Paddy Ryan try, Brian Kingston 5 pens, con.
Buccaneers: Paul Harte, Shane Layton tries, Aidan Kennedy 2 pens, con.
Dungannon 28, Bruff 15.
Dungannon kept their promotion hopes alive with this bonus point win over Bruff at Stevenson Park.
A try by Chris Cochrane and a conversion and two penalties by Michael Lawton had the Ulster side 13-3 ahead at half time. Brian Cahill kicking a penalty for Bruff.
In the second half tries from Cochrane, Mark Farquhar and Paul McKenzie secured the bonus point for the home side. Eoghan Maher and Brendan Deady replied with tries for Bruff and Tom O'Callaghan added a conversion.
Scorers Dungannon: Chris Cochrane 2 tries, Mark Farquhar and Paul McKenzie tries, Michael Lawton 2 pens, con.
Bruff: Tries: Eoghan Maher and Brendan Deady tries, Tom O'Callaghan con, Brian Cahill pen.
Ulster Bank League Division 1A: Blackrock College 30, Shannon 15;
Dolphin 9, Clontarf 3;
Lansdowne 30, Garryowen 13;
Old Belvedere 7, Cork Constitution 9;
Young Munster 11, St. Mary's College 36;
Division 1B: Ballynahinch 21, U.C.D. 21;
Belfast Harlequins 9, Ballymena 0;
Dungannon 28, Bruff 15;
Galwegians 22, U.L. Bohemian 24;
U.C.C. 22, Buccaneers 18;