Dundalk dismantle Bangor to seal Junior Cup glory
Dundalk are Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup champions following one of the most dominating performances ever in any Cup final at any level and the newly-crowned titleholders can now concentrate on trying to add the Leinster League Division 1A title to their trophy cabinet.
An eight-try 55-5 demolition of a Bangor side that had knocked out both last year's winners and runners-up en route to the decider while also lying in third place in the Ulster Junior League was as big a statement of intent from the Co Louth side as can be delivered as the business end of the season approaches.
Playing with the advantage of the elements in the first half at Portadown Rugby Club on Saturday, the southern team were quickly into their stride and led 19-0 at the interval with centre Chris Scully, winger Owen McNally and out-half Johnny Williams scoring the tries that had Dundalk in control.
A Bangor sin-binning early in the second half was punished ruthlessly as Dundalk ran in three tries during the 10-minute punishment from replacement prop forward John Smith, flanker James McConnon and winger Ultan Murphy.
And they never let up until the end with substitutes Tiernan Gonnolly and Stephen Murphy completing the coup de grace to ensure monumental celebrations when they returned to their Mill Road clubhouse.
On Sunday, it's back to the bread-and-butter fare of the Leinster League when the freshly-crowned titleholders travel to Beechpark to take on struggling Cill Dara where anything other than a solid win for the Division 1A leaders would constitute a major surprise.
Second-placed Enniscorthy will be keen not to allow the four-point gap to the summit to grow any wider and they face a tricky test at resurgent Suttonians who are making a strong effort to get out of the relegation play-off spot.
Elsewhere, bottom side Coolmine must win at home tonight against Ashbourne if they are to entertain any realistic hopes of survival, while on Sunday Clondalkin will be trying to snap their four-game losing streak with a win that would ease their relegation worries when they make the short journey into Sydney Parade to take on Monkstown.
In Division 1B, leaders Kilkenny will be severely tested away to fourth-placed Wicklow, and there is another huge game near the top as third-placed Gorey host the team immediately above them Malahide and bottom side Newbridge are in a must-win situation at home to seventh-placed Co Carlow.
North Kildare should at least maintain their three-point lead at the top of Division 2A when they travel to already-relegated Garda, while second-placed Mullingar won't want to slip up on their lengthy journey to struggling Roscrea.
Edenderry were presented with their Division 2B trophy last week after beating Athy 27-19 at home and the battle here is for second and on Sunday current occupants Athboy travel to Clane who are trying desperately to get out of the basement slot and third-placed Athy are at home to Swords.
Finally, the Division 3 title will also be decided this weekend when leaders Balbriggan host second-placed Wexford Wanderers in a winner-takes-all scenario on Sunday.