Monday 22 January 2018

Enniscorthy eye AIL after sealing the deal in style

The victorious Enniscorthy team celebrate their success
The victorious Enniscorthy team celebrate their success

Dermot O'Mahony

Enniscorthy won the Leinster League Division 1A title on Saturday in impressive style with a 55-0 victory at Monkstown and will now have a shot at the Ulster Bank League as they have qualified for next month's AIL Round Robin.

The game opened brightly for the hosts who applied a lot of early pressure but they were unable to convert their chances into scores - which was in sharp contrast to the visitors' penchant for doing so.

And thanks to a remarkable scoring burst immediately before half-time Enniscorthy led 38-0 at the break with tries from full -back Ross Barbour, flanker Greg Jacob, wingers David O'Dwyer and Ivan Jacob, prop Angelo Todisco and a penalty try putting them well on their way to a first ever Division 1A title.

Enniscorthy were able to freewheel through the rest of the game, emptying their bench early, and scored two further tries though O'Dwyer and centre Hugh O'Neill to complete the title-clinching win.

There were double celebrations at Sydney Parade on Saturday evening as Enniscorthy's 2nd XV won the Seconds League Division 1A - the Ross Road trophy cabinet is beginning to get crowded as the senior team has already won the All-Ireland Junior Cup.

Gorey finished an extremely creditable second in their debut season in Division 1A, two points adrift of their county Wexford neighbours following their 10-0 home win against Clondalkin, who now play in a fraught relegation playoff on Sunday

Ashbourne consolidated third place with a 48-5 home victory against already relegated Suttonians and De La Salle Palmerston, in their first season out of AIL, beat Kilkenny 26-15 at home to finish fourth.

There were also celebrations for Portlaoise, who beat Newbridge 22-15 away to capture the Division 2A crown in an exciting finale.

At one stage on Sunday Co Carlow, who finished in third place behind Railway Union despite beating their Dublin 4 hosts 24-23 at Park Avenue, were within a try of overhauling the Laois club before Portlaoise, through a pair of second-half tries from No 8 Mark Sherlock came from behind to clinch the title.

Portlaoise, who not so long ago were one of the province's powerhouses, regularly competing at the business end of Towns Cup campaigns while plying their trade in the old Division 1, the forerunner to today's Division 1A were level 5-5 at half-time with prop Ritchie Bond scoring their try.

On Sunday the focus of attention will be on the Leinster League promotion/relegation play-offs as six teams do battle in three nerve-wracking games to either better or maintain their status for next season.

In Sydney Parade Clondalkin of Division 1A take on Wicklow, who were runners up in Division 1B, overtaking long-time second-place occupiers North Kildare on the last day, Longford who were seventh in Division 1B play Railway Union from Division 2A at Edenderry Rugby Club while in the third encounter New Ross of Division 2A are up against Balbriggan of Division 2B at Co Carlow Football Club.

While all three winners will be hoping to play in the higher Division next season their precise status will not be known until late April when the AIL Round Robin and AIL play-off are complete.

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