Malahide open gap at the top
Leinster Club Rugby
Malahide took a gigantic step towards securing a first Leinster League Division 1A title when they opened up a four-point lead at the summit following their hard-earned 15-9 victory at home in Estuary Road against second-placed Enniscorthy last Saturday.
It was a terrific game, a great advertisement for the Leinster League and the destiny of the points was in the balance right up until the final whistle when a despairing tackle by Malahide winger Ciaran Clifford on his opposite number Hughie O'Neill prevented a try with the last play of the game.
The home side dominated the first half and led 10-3 at the break with winger Marcus McAllister's try midway through the period being the key score, while out-half Conal Keane added the conversion and a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time.
It was the visitors' turn after the break to control affairs but they were limited to a couple of final-quarter penalty goals from out-half Ivan Poole as the home defence stood firm before wrapping up the win with a try scored by centre Marc Hewitt at the end of normal time ahead of the ensuing injury-time drama.
Tomorrow the second half of the league gets under way and Malahide travel to Milltown House to play Ashbourne, while Enniscorthy are also on the road again, this time away to Dundalk at Mill Road.
Ashbourne drew 21-21 at home against Gorey on Saturday and in another dramatic finale it was the width of the posts that prevented the visitors walking away with victory as centre James Nolan's touchline conversion bounced off an upright and back into play with the last kick of the game.
Gorey had led 13-0 at half-time, full-back Dave Shannon scoring their lone touchdown but the home side scored three tries after the break through centres Des Spooner (2) and Jack O'Brien to lead by five points as the game entered the final minutes with the visitors swarming forward until replacement out-half Stephen Duke crossed in the right corner for the equalising score.
Ashbourne were humiliated 71-13 away to Malahide on the opening day of the season and will be anxious to rectify that in some way tomorrow while Enniscorthy beat Dundalk 27-19 the same day.
Dundalk travelled to Sydney Parade on Saturday and scored six tries in beating bottom side Monkstown 38-18, moving up to fourth place in the process as the Co Louth club attempts to steady the ship after last season's immediate return to the Leinster League after only a year in the AIL.
In the day's other game a week ago third-placed De La Salle Palmerston were too strong for Kilkenny and cemented their position on the table with a five-try 33-7 win at home in Kirwan Park.
The big relegation clash tomorrow is the visit of seventh-placed Kilkenny to Monkstown where the hosts begin proceedings four points adrift of their visitors, while sixth-placed Gorey visit DLSP in the remaining Division 1A fixture.