Enniscorthy edge closer to AIL with smash-and-grab victory in Belfast
Enniscorthy got their quest for All-Ireland League status off to a great start when the travelled to Belfast on Saturday and beat Ulster Kukri Qualifying League champions Instonians 27-12 at Shaw Bridge in the opening series of games in the AIL Round Robin.
And in the Leinster League Division 1A/1B promotion/relegation play-off, Bective Rangers dramatically edged past Longford at North Kildare with a last-kick penalty to secure a 12-11 victory.
That said, both teams, along with the other Leinster League play-off participants who played a fortnight ago, will be anxiously awaiting the fallout from promotion to and relegation from the AIL.
Two tries by full-back Richard Dunne inside the opening quarter of an hour gave Enniscorthy the prefect start in Belfast and winger Ivan Jacob added another before the break, all of which out-half Ivan Poole converted before stroking over a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time to almost put the visitors out of sight with a 24-0 lead.
The hosts responded well after the break and scored an early try but they were subsequently repeatedly repelled by stoic defence which eventually set up Poole for the visitors' lone second period score, a late penalty goal which was followed by a consolation injury time try for Instonians.
Enniscorthy now host Clonmel at home in Ross Road tomorrow afternoon, the Tipperary side being the early Round Robin leaders after their bonus-point 31-21 win at home against the Connemara All Blacks.
Ciarán Heneghan kicked four penalty goals for Bective Rangers, the last of which was the final kick of the game from the touchline that broke the hearts of Longford, who only five minutes earlier had scored the game's only try to lead by two points after No 8 Paul Gallogly burst over off the back of a scrum.
Longford will try to atone for that disappointment on Sunday when they travel to Naas to take on Wicklow in the second Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup semi-final.
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