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Crunch time for critical Cill Dara

With the onset of March comes the business end of the Leagues and as usual there is still much to be decided.

Boyne may have won the Leinster League Division 1A but at the other end of the table, the relegation issues have to be sorted out with three teams remaining in the thick of it.

With two games left, Cill Dara, three points adrift at the bottom, are favourites for the drop and must win at home to Tullamore tomorrow to cling on to any realistic hopes of salvation.

Co Carlow are the team immediately above them in the relegation play-off spot and they failed to gain any ground last week when they lost 18-7 in a refixed game in Tullamore.

They travel to Dundalk tomorrow as they bid to stay clear of Cill Dara but they will also try to bridge the five-point gap to sixth-placed Newbridge.

Newbridge have failed to recapture their pre-Christmas form and the Kildare club will be anxious to beat visitors Skerries or face the possibility of a last week encounter against Co Carlow.

Champions Boyne's penultimate game as a Junior club is in Coolmine, a club that has had a most satisfactory debut in the top division.

Garda, already promoted, will win Division 1B if, as expected, they beat New Ross at home on Sunday with the Wexford club almost certainly heading in the opposite direction.


Another Wexford side, Enniscorthy, are well positioned for the runners-up spot and if they win at home against Wicklow they will join Garda in the top division next season.

Monkstown have emerged as the team most likely to snare the promotion play-off position of third and a victory in Portarlington will bring the Dubliners closer to that prize.

Tullow host Portlaoise in the remaining game with the winner only likely to gain anything from a Monkstown meltdown over the run-in.

Longford remain favourites to win the Division 2 crown despite losing 12-10 at home to Ashbourne last Saturday and the waters were muddied further when Clondalkin lost 12-7 to visitors Gorey. This Division has turned out to be a minefield with two teams automatically promoted, another into a promotion play-off and the bottom four facing relegation.

Longford enjoy an eight-point lead at the summit over Ashbourne with three games remaining, with Clondalkin a point further back but the Dublin club has a game in hand.

On Sunday the leaders travel to a rejuvenated Gorey, a club fighting like crazy to stay clear of the bottom four, and a tricky encounter for a contender if ever there was one.

Ashbourne host Kilkenny, another team hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone while Clondalkin would seem to have the most straight forward task of the title-chasing trio when they host already relegated Wexford Wanderers.

Mullingar need to make up 13 points in their remaining four games in their battle against the drop and they are at home tomorrow evening to Clane, a side still entertaining outside promotion play-off hopes while Roscrea cannot afford to lose at home to Edenderry in another crucial relegation dogfight on Sunday.