Olly Barkley and Chris Malone banged over long-range goals as Bath upset Leinster in a thriller at the Royal Dublin Society Showground.

Barkley and opposite number Felipe Contepomi enjoyed a battle of the boot as the lead swapped throughout the hard-fought match, but it was Malone’s late dropped goal – his second in a week – that sealed the match.

Leinster went into the match without Test winger Denis Hickie, who injured a leg at midweek training, but the opening exchanges belonged to the home side. Argentinian Contepomi scored 13 quick points as an error-ridden Bath side failed to get on to the front foot.

Contepomi slotted a beautifully struck dropped goal to open the scoring, before coming around on the loop to score a try. He converted it and added a penalty goal, with Barkley providing his side’s only points of the first half-hour.

The home lineout dominated the opening spell, winning virtually every throw as Contepomi’s educated boot kept the Bath side in their own half for long periods.

The English club hit back late in the half when scrum-half Martyn Wood produced a pinpoint up-and-under that had the Irish defence at sixes and sevens. They earned the penalty and Barkley slotted it home, and narrowed the margin to 13-9 at halftime after French winger David Bory was tackled high in midfield.

Bath started the second half strongly, scoring through backrower and man of the match Andy Beattie after Leinster hooker David Blaney was yellow-carded for a professional foul.

Contepomi levelled the scores with his fourth goal, before Bath winger Frikkie Welsh took opposite number Robert Kearney about a week late. He was lucky to avoid a yellow card, and even luckier when Contepomi missed the goal.

Leinster began to pile on the pressure after they were restored to 15 men, and it took a fingernail intercept from Welsh to prevent what looked like a certain try in the corner.

With the scores locked at 16-all and the clocking ticking past the 70-minute mark, Barkley lined up a 53-metre shot at goal, and the ball was still rising as it bisected the uprights. Not to be out-done, Malone snapped over a dropped goal to give his side some much-needed breathing space.