Wednesday 1 March 2017

De La Salle hold out as weather causes mayhem

Dermot O'Mahony

Leinster coach Leo Cullen during training at the Aviva Stadium Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster coach Leo Cullen during training at the Aviva Stadium Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-finals, together with two of the three scheduled Leinster League Division 1A fixtures, went by the wayside as a result of Saturday's deluge that swept across the country.

Kirwan Park, De La Salle Palmerston's grounds in Kilternan, survived the atrocious weather conditions and the home side survived a second-half assault by visitors Gorey as they eked out a vital 23-21 victory that keeps the Dubliners very much in the Division 1A title hunt.

Rumbled

Second-row Keith Taite rumbled over for a try late in the first half that established control for Salmo at the break as they led 13-3, but the county Wexford side, who are second in the league, came out fired up on the resumption.

That early pressure was rewarded with the awarding of a penalty try but the home side struck back as full-back Andrew Norton was on hand to dot down after an impressive move by the home backline that defied the conditions.

Back came the visitors and scrum-half Matt Bater touched down to reduce the deficit to one score as the game entered the final stretch.

With two minutes on the clock lock-forward Ronan Costelloe sealed the deal for the home side with a five-pointer but Gorey snatched a valuable losing bonus point as full-back Andrew Walsh grabbed a try with the final play of the game.

Gorey trail Enniscorthy by two points and De La Salle Palmerston are two points further back in third place, with Ashbourne still in contention four more points adrift.

Kilkenny host Monkstown tomorrow.

Last weekend's postponed games have been rescheduled for Sunday, January 3, while the postponed All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-finals will be played tomorrow.

Enniscorthy had appeared to have avoided the excesses of Saturday's wintry downpours at their Ross Road headquarters but at the eleventh hour their penultimate round clash with Bangor went the way of many other sporting fixtures on Saturday when torrential rain in the hour leading up to kick off forced the referee to postpone the game.

Elsewhere Malahide scored a 35-10 bonus point win over bottom side Longford to stretch their lead at the top of Division 1B to two points over second placed North Kildare, who winkled out a 21-20 victory away at Mullingar having overcome a 20-6 interval deficit.

At Togher in Division 2A home side Portlaoise beat Co Carlow 18-14 to establish a three-point lead at the summit, while Railway Union and Portarlington are still very much in contention at the Christmas break.

Division 2B leaders Roscrea were beaten for the first time on Sunday when their hosts, second-placed Athy, won 15-10 at the Showgrounds, while all Division 3 fixtures were washed out by the rain.

Finally the draw for the first round of the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup will be conducted in the Ballsbridge Hotel tomorrow at 2.30 with holders Enniscorthy and last season's runners-up Kilkenny two of the favourites entering the 91st renewal of the historic competition.

Irish Independent

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