ASHBOURNE seem destined for a nervy relegation play-off, possibly against Malahide, after this unfortunate defeat left them still nine points adrift of safety with only two matches remaining.The south Meath outfit were denied a precious losing bonus point with a last-minute penalty kick by Longford which pushed them eight points ahead, and after an improved display Ashbourne deserved better. A very busy opening 15 minutes saw the sides share 20 points. Longford went ahead with a penalty, but Ashbourne replied soon after with a try by the backs. A great break by Marcus Speck put Leo Quinn into space, Speck followed up and was on hand to take the return pass and he put Casey Dunne through for the touchdown. Dunne converted himself and also added a penalty, but from the restart the visitors conceded a try to tie the score. Ashbourne were playing well and Longford were conceding a lot of penalties, but a bemused Ashbourne support kept waiting for the yellow card which never came. In the second half Longford went on to grab a second unconverted try and two penalties, with just a Dunne kick in reply. In the last five minutes a disputed decision by the home linesman denied Ashbourne a five-metre lineout, when he took his flag down after initially flagging for a lineout and this incensed the visitors and denied them the chance of a score. The final nail in the coffin came with that last-minute kick to stretch the Longford lead beyond losing bonus point territory. Ashbournes next game is an away Provincial Towns Cup game in Clane next Sunday at 2.30pm and their penultimate league fixture at home to promotion-chasing Clondalkin doesn't take place until March 3rd. ASHBOURNE: Marcus Speck; Dermot Colreavy, Pauric Boyle, Mark Rooney, Casey Dunne; Leo Quinn, Eddie Conaty; Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Ciaran Roche; Darragh Curran, Eugene Gallagher; Ken Bolster, James Rooney, Rory Gleeson. Replacements: Mark Behan, Eoin McGuinness, Adrian Buckley, Joe Taylor, Colm Randle. -In the weekend's other games involving Fingal junior teams, relegated Swords went down 24-7 at Guinness in Division 2B and Balbriggan were beaten 12-5 at home by Athboy in the McGee Cup. Malahide's home game in Division 2A against New Ross was called off but they remain second behind Kilkenny and are still in contention for the league title.