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Newbridge deliver dramatic finale to stay on the tail of leaders Tullamore

TULLAMORE may have lost their 100pc record when not securing a bonus point in their 28-6 victory away to Coolmine in Ashbrook last Saturday, but they did maintain their unbeaten start as well as their six-point lead at the top of the Leinster League Division 1A table.

The game was keenly contested, particularly in the opening half, with the visitors narrowly ahead 6-3 at the break. But despite being pegged back level soon after the restart, the County Offaly side unleashed their undoubted power as hooker Cathal Feighery, lock forward David Milne and winger Tom Gilligan crossed for tries in another comprehensive success.

Newbridge remained in second place following a dramatic seventh minute of injury time winning drop goal from out-half Collie Sheridan that edged them past Wanderers 15-14 at home in Rosetown.

Centre Darren O'Brien scored a first-quarter try for the home side that Sheridan converted, but they trailed 8-7 at the interval thanks to a try by visiting scrum-half Tommy Ellard and a penalty goal by hooker Henry Parker.

Two further Parker penalty goals extended the Wanderers advantage to seven points early in the second half before replacement winger Stephen Cooke scored an unconverted try shortly past the hour mark for the hosts.

Ferocious

The Dublin 4 visitors then launched a series of ferocious attacks in a determined attempt to seal the victory but strong defending by the hosts eventually lifted the siege before Sheridan's late heroics.

Enniscorthy are third, a point further back, after they came from behind at half-time to beat visiting Dundalk 23-17 at Ross Road.

Winger Ivan Jacob opened the scoring for the County Wexford side but they still trailed 14-13 at the break. Second-half tries from No8 Tony Ryan and Jacob sealed victory.

In the relegation battle it was visitors Cill Dara that plundered maximum points in Westmanstown against Garda with a 27-10 victory.

Two early tries by winger Tommy Cleary set the Kildare town side on their way, but a Garda fight back before the interval kept the deficit to four points at 14-10.

The visitors had to wait until late on to secure the win with centre Miles Medlicott scoring the third try shortly before winger Paddy Ryan delivered the precious bonus point with the game's final play.

Garda are now rooted to the bottom and, with a seven-point deficit to make up, look odds-on favourites for the drop. If they do get relegated, Tullow look the team most likely to replace them as they travelled to Longford on Sunday and returned home from CPL Park with a 29-22 win, maintaining their unbeaten start to Division 1B and their six-point lead at the summit.

Crucial

Winger Seán McCarthy got the Slaneysiders' opening try but they trailed 12-8 at half-time. Fellow winger Daniel O'Brien added the two crucial second-half touchdowns that helped secure the win.

Monkstown moved into second place when they won 26-16 away in Oak Park against Co Carlow, while Portarlington and Wicklow have overcome slow starts to move level with Longford three points further back after wins over Ashbourne (22-20 at home) and Clondalkin (26-25 away) respectively.

Unbeaten Kilkenny are the new leaders of Division 2A after a bonus point 38-15 home win against Mullingar propelled them past Roscrea, who lost 22-8 in Malahide.

Railway Union stretched their lead in Division 2B to seven points at Arklow, winning a top-of-the-table clash 9-3, while Birr are top of Division 3 after an 18-17 away win in Rathdrum.

The All Ireland Junior Cup takes centre stage tomorrow as there is a break in Leinster League action with Tullamore at home to Ballymoney from Antrim, Newbridge hosting Limerick club Richmond, Enniscorthy making the long journey to tackle Skibbereen and Coolmine heading north of the border to take on Clogher Valley.


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