Wednesday 11 December 2019

Ashbourne send Gorey packing to remain on path to four-timer

Leinster league Round-up

'With the game very much in the melting pot, Ashbourne winger Aaron O'Loughlin touched down for a five-pointer' Stock photo
'With the game very much in the melting pot, Ashbourne winger Aaron O'Loughlin touched down for a five-pointer' Stock photo

Dermot O'Mahony

Ashbourne's sensational form in the Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup continued last Saturday when they travelled to fellow Leinster League Division 1A club Gorey and beat them 22-15 to reach the semi-final in their quest for an unprecedented fourth title in a row. However, it wasn't to be for Kilkenny as they crashed out 26-18 in their second-round tie at Kilfeacle.

Out-half Mark Kehoe opened the scoring for Gorey with an early penalty, but the hosts trailed 10-3 at the break after prop forward Alan Wall burst over for a try, while scrum-half Gavin Kennedy added a penalty goal to his conversion.

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Second-row Andrew Whittaker extended the visitors' lead with a try soon after the resumption, but wing-forward Steven Gardiner responded in kind for the home side.

With the game very much in the melting pot, Ashbourne winger Aaron O'Loughlin touched down for a five-pointer, but a grandstand finish was set up when Gorey prop forward Kevin Browne scored a try with less than five minutes to play, but despite finishing camped on the Meath club's line, the hosts were unable to grab the score that could have sent the tie to extra-time.

Eliminating Kilfeacle and District made it two Leinster League Division 1A scalps on the bounce as they followed up their win over Wicklow by eliminating Kilkenny at their Morrissey Park base, which is close to Cashel in Co Tipperary.

The home side scored an early try and Kilkenny then led briefly on the back of two Jake McDonald penalties, but another try and penalty sent Kilfeacle to the interval leading 13-6. The hosts then pulled away in the second half, adding a penalty, a converted try and drop goal, before the Marble City club responded with two late tries.

Kilfeacle now get a chance to knock out a third Division 1A club when they host Ashbourne on December 14 in what is a repeat of the 2018 decider, a game that the defending champions won 18-9.

Attention now switches back to the Leinster League tomorrow and the stand-out fixture is the Division 1A top-of-the-table encounter when leaders Ashbourne welcome second-placed Dundalk to Milltown House.

When the teams met on the opening day, Ashbourne won 26-7, but Dundalk are unbeaten since.

There is a dogfight going on at the other end of the table and bottom club Wicklow will be anxious to reverse their opening-day loss when they entertain third-placed Suttonians. It's seventh against sixth when Seapoint host Kilkenny, while fourth-placed Gorey travel to Energia Park to take on Bective.

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