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Peerless Wanderers finally put both feet in Promised Land

WANDERERS are Leinster League Division 1A champions and they've done it style as their 27-17 home win at Lansdowne Road against Enniscorthy on Saturday was their 11th win from the same number of games with nine four-try bonus points being garnered en route.

Ashbourne have moved into a strong position in Division 1B without kicking a ball as second-placed Monkstown lost 12-3 away against Wicklow at Ashtown Lane while Gorey tightened their grip on Division 2A with a come-from-behind 10-8 win over Roscrea away at Streamstown.

Wanderers can now plan for an assault on the AIL Round Robin as they will have two home games against the Ulster and Connacht champions either side of a visit to the Munster winners commencing at the end of March.

On Saturday, they were made to battle all the way by their visitors and despite winger Bryan Buckley scoring the game's opening try the hosts had to rely on No 8 Damian Hall's touchdown just before the interval to establish a 12-10 half-time lead.

Hooker Adam Duhig gave the home side some leeway with his side's third try early in the second half before repeating the dose soon after the hour mark to bag the bonus point and make the game safe before centre Daniel Pim's late try added to scrum half Evan Lett's first-half five-pointer for the Co Wexford club.

The title was secured and celebrations began when word seeped through to rugby HQ that second-placed Dundalk had lost 38-13 away to Clondalkin, a result that propelled the west Dublin side out of the relegation play-off spot and up to fourth place.

The other big winners in the six-team relegation battle were Cill Dara, who notched their first away win of the campaign with an impressive 17-5 win at Coolmine, while Tullow made full use of home advantage when they beat Newbridge 16-10 at Black Gates.

There are some huge relegation games tomorrow with the bottom two sides in action at Ross Road as last-placed Tullow travel to local rivals Enniscorthy whom they trail by a single point, while the two teams one point better off on the table meet at Rosetown when Newbridge entertain Coolmine.

In both of these games defeat would not necessarily be terminal but it'll certainly feel that way with only two series of matches remaining while the winner of the clash between third-placed Cill Dara and Clondalkin in Beechpark will be safe for another season.

Hard to believe then that the meeting of the top two in Mill Road for the visit of Wanderers to Dundalk will be largely devoid of attention, something that will not be the case in Division 1B on Sunday where the top two also meet.

 

Buffer

It is now Ashbourne's league to lose and indeed they could win the title with victory in Sydney Parade against Monkstown but with a six-point buffer even a defeat in Dublin 4 would still leave the Co Meath side in the driving seat heading into their final pair of games.

Gorey opened up an eight-point lead in Division 2A as they overcame an 8-0 interval deficit in Roscrea while second-placed Co Carlow's game against third-placed North Kildare was postponed due to a bereavement; Gorey host Railway Union at Clonattin on Sunday and Co Carlow make the short trip to play Portlaoise.

New Ross extended their lead in Division 2B to 10 points when they beat Athy 15-3 away at the Showgrounds, while second-placed Birr were surprisingly beaten 10-0 at homeby Athboy, and New Ross could be crowned champions on Sunday if they beat Athboy at home in Southknock and Birr lose in Carbury against Edenderry.

Midland Warriors continue to lead Division 3 after beating Guinness 47-10 at home in Moate but second-placed Swords have a chance to take advantage of the Co Westmeath side's weekend off by going top if they win at Arklow.


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