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Brougham sparks Wanderers in rout of Clogher Valley

WANDERERS got their Ulster Bank League Round Robin campaign off to a terrific start with a 21-7 home win at Lansdowne Road against Clogher Valley on Saturday while there were dramatic Leinster League play-off victories for Monkstown and Co Carlow.

And the focus this weekend will be on the Provincial Towns Cup sponsored by Cleaning Contractors as the penultimate round games are down for decision on Sunday afternoon.

The Ulster champions from Fermanagh started the game as if they meant business by applying pressure on the home defence but it was the boot of out-half Peter Brougham that drew first blood as he slotted a pair of second-quarter penalty goals to put Wanderers 6-0 up at the break.

Clogher Valley came storming out of the blocks again on the resumption and this time they were rewarded with a converted try but almost immediately Brougham blocked down an attempted clearance, gathered and scored a five-pointer to nudge the hosts back in front.

Lock forward Michael Kevany stretched the lead further soon after when dotting down and Brougham converted before completing the scoring with a penalty goal that sets the "Chaps" up nicely for their second game which will most likely be the Round Robin decider away to Kanturk tomorrow week.

The Co Cork side won 13-7 against OLBC in Galway and the winner of the clash of the unbeaten duo should decide who gets automatic promotion to the AIL.

Monkstown beat Newbridge 19-9 after extra-time at Coolmine Rugby Club in a nail-biting Leinster League Division 1A/1B play-off on Saturday with the deadlock only being broken in the final two minutes by a penalty goal followed by a breakaway converted try.

Monkstown out-half Bill Duggan and Newbridge winger Joe D'Arcy had traded penalty goals throughout the game as the sides were level 3-3 at half-time, 6-6 at full-time and 9-9 at half-time in extra-time.

Duggan then struck the vital late penalty goal before victory was sealed with full-back Michael Twomey's try as he took full advantage of a ball popping out the side of a ruck in opposition territory.

Monkstown now await Wanderers' progress in the Round Robin as they will go up to Division 1A if Wanderers are promoted, otherwise they will stay in Division 1B along with Newbridge.

Co Carlow are in the same boat waiting on Wanderers after their exciting 13-12 Division 1B/2A play-off win against Portarlington in Athy Rugby Club on Sunday.

Out-half Richard Whyte was the hero for the Carlovians as he scored all their points including an early converted try that helped them to a 7-6 interval lead.

Grandstand

Portarlington scored first after the break but Whyte added a pair of penalty goals before the lead was reduced to the minimum for the final five minutes, setting up a tense grandstand finale.

It is not so long ago that Co Carlow plied their trade at the very highest levels of Irish club rugby and this could be the first tentative steps of a sleeping giant slowly arising from its slumber.

A pair of attractive Provincial Towns Cup semi-finals is on the menu for Sunday with recently crowned All-Ireland Junior Cup champions Enniscorthy playing undefeated Leinster League Division 1B winners Ashbourne in Naas Rugby Club, while South East Area rivals and Division 1B foes Kilkenny and Wicklow will do battle at Tullow RFC.

All four clubs will fancy their chances in the most open Towns Cup in years and Sunday's winners will no doubt have earned their place in the final which is scheduled for April 13 at a venue to be confirmed within hours of the semi-finals.


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