Ashbourne in control of top tier as rivals battle to make early impact
After three games Ashbourne have taken control of the Leinster League Division 1A with a 100 per cent record, and while their opponents are floundering to establish traction the Meath club has already opened a six-point advantage at the top.
On Saturday they made it a third bonus-point win when they travelled to Wicklow and overcame last season's Division 1A runners up 41-7.
Prop Ciaran Roche opened the scoring with a 7th minute try for the visitors and they had the bonus point wrapped up by the interval as winger Shane Bass, scrum-half Gavin Kennedy and flanker Jake Wall all crossed for five pointers.
Ashbourne even had time to score a fifth try in first-half injury time as winger Colm Craigie dotted down and they led 29-0 at the break.
That dominance continued as both out-half Donal Crotty and lock Conor Hurley added further tries before the hosts as they scored five minutes from the end.
There is a three-way tie for second place with Suttonians edging ahead of Gorey and Dundalk on points difference following their 18-12 home win against winless Bective Rangers.
A break-away try on the half hour mark scored by centre Ciaran Clifford helped the northsiders into an early lead but the Dublin 4 club replied in kind before the interval.
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Winger David Mongan restored the host's advantage ten minutes into the second half while out-half Conor Jennings hit two penalties as well as a conversion before a late converted try helped the visitors snatch a losing bonus point.
Winger Ronan Greene opened the scoring with a try after ten minutes in Mill Road for Dundalk as they edged past visitors Seapoint 19-17 to move up to third place.
Greene bagged a second as the teams went into the break at 12-12 and it was centre Willie Schutz who crucially converted his own try late on to eke out the victory, as the Dubliners were unable to convert from the touchline after they scored an even later try.
Kilkenny ended Gorey's unbeaten record when they made to trip to Clonattin and returned home with a precious 17-15 victory after Jake McDonald held his nerve to kick a 79th minute penalty winner.
McDonald scored and converted the visitors' first-half try as they trailed 10-7 at the break and he also added the extras to prop Simon O'Shea's try just past the hour mark before delivering the coup de grace to grab the win, which moved Kilkenny up to fifth place.