ST MARY’S COLLEGE survived a gruelling test at the ‘bullring’ on Castle Avenue to replace a vanquished Clontarf side at the summit of the Ulster Bank League.
The Templeogue side, featuring Leinster and Ireland underage players Mark Sexton and Darren Hudson, withstood a 10-minute onslaught in the closing stages to record an 18-12 win.
They were indebted to a pack that constantly threw weary bodies at the onrushing Clontarf attackers and a replacements bench that knew what was required when they were summoned into action.
St Mary’s captain Hugh Hogan led from the front in the first-plays-second encounter and Darren Hudson contributed with two tries.
The highlight of the game came in the first-half as Clontarf lead 7-3. Dangerous Mary’s back, Conor Hogan chipped a ball over the covering Clontarf defence. He collected the ball and touched it down to hand his team an initiative that they would not cede.
St Mary’s are now in the UBL driving seat and can capture a first title since 2000 with a win against Young Munster next weekend.