Leinster Club Rugby: Malahide secure AIL spot
Malahide's wonderful season culminated in ecstasy on Saturday when the Leinster League Division 1A champions were promoted to the Ulster Bank League with one game to spare in the AIL Round Robin after their bonus point 34-9 home win over Clonmel.
Plying their trade in Division 3 of the Leinster League as recently as 2010-11, this has been a fairytale rags to riches story for the north county Dublin club.
Despite the scoreline the game was in the balance with a little over ten minutes remaining when the visitors only trailed by six points but a three-try salvo secured both the day and promotion for the home side.
Coupled with their 26-7 victory in Omagh a week earlier the maximum ten points gleaned from the two games has propelled Malahide into an uncatchable six-point lead with a trip to Ballina tomorrow week to come.
Flanker John Shine and winger Marcus McAllister scored first-half tries as they led 15-6 at the break but soon after the resumption Clonmel kicked their third penalty to stay in touch.
No 8 Eoin Crowley, making only his second start of the season at this level, settled the homes side's nerves with a 69th minute try before second row Enda McCarthy and centre Marc Hewitt set the champagne corks popping by the seaside with their late touchdowns.
Malahide's AIL Round Robin success was also good news for the winners of the four Leinster League promotion/relegation play-offs - Monkstown, Suttonians, Newbridge and Midland Warriors - who will all play in the higher divisions next season.
The four losers of these play-offs will be hoping that Boyne maintain their ninth place in Division 2C of the AIL when the last series of games is played tomorrow and then win the play-off against the runner up in the Round Robin.
The four clubs clinging to Boyne's late attempt at escaping relegation are Clondalkin, Co Carlow, Wexford Wanderers and Ardee.
Skerries and Tullow will battle it out on Sunday in the 92nd Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Final at Athy.
Sunday provides a chance for Tullow to hoist the fabled pot for the first time ever, while Skerries will be trying to equal Co Carlow's record of most wins (12) and also emulate the 1979 Skerries team that was victorious as the only 2nd XV winners to date.
Finally a special word for Navan U-20s who beat JP Fanagan Premier 1 champions Lansdowne 22-9 in the Fraser McMullen All-Ireland final at Templeville Road.