Enniscorthy go five points clear after hard-fought win over Gorey
The Leinster League Division 1A reached its mid-point last Saturday with leaders Enniscorthy stretching their lead to five points after a top-of-the-table 11-8 victory at second-placed Gorey.
The 2015-2016 champions won for the sixth time on the bounce in the league as they prevailed in a tough encounter at Clonattin that featured robust defending from both teams.
Winger Ivan Jacob opened the scoring with a 15th-minute, unconverted try for Enniscorthy but lock forward Stephen Gardiner equalised for the hosts five minutes later.
Out-half Ivan Poole nudged Enniscorthy into an 8-5 interval lead with a successful penalty goal five minutes from half-time.
Poole doubled his side's lead midway through the second period but a grandstand finish was set up when centre James Nolan matched that penalty goal with one of his own with 10 minutes remaining.
However, the home side could get no closer and when the final whistle blew the three-point difference in the scoreline was the same as the margin that Enniscorthy increased their lead by at the summit.
Wicklow joined Gorey on 23 points after their exciting 39-35 victory over fourth-placed Bective Rangers at Energia Park but despite the big scoreline they failed to add a four-try bonus point. In fact, it was the home side that scored four tries to pick up two bonus points in defeat.
International Rugby Newsletter
Flanker Luke Gersekowski and out-half Niall Earls scored first-half tries for Wicklow as they were came from behind to lead 20-13 at the break.
Gersekowski added a second-half try to restore the visitors' lead after the hosts had retaken it in a yo-yo contest, while six penalty goals from six attempts, plus three conversions, made it a 29-point haul for Earls.
Kilkenny moved off bottom with a last-minute 15-14 victory at home in Foulkstown against champions Ashbourne, who are now perilously close to the relegation zone.
Second-row Liam Phelan's try was the lone touchdown of the opening half as the home side led 10-6 at the break.
Then, after the visitors had opened up a four-point advantage towards the end, winger Lyndon Brannigan snatched the late winning try as Kilkenny won for the second time in succession.
The County Louth derby in Drogheda was edged 10-8 by Dundalk as the fifth-placed visitors survived a last kick, touchline conversion miss to condemn Boyne to the bottom of the league.
A dominant scrum was rewarded with a penalty try for Dundalk who led 7-3 at the break and scrum-half Darragh Conroy's penalty goal midway through the second half proved crucial as Boyne's last-gasp try just wasn't enough.
Tomorrow Wicklow visit Ross Road to take on Enniscorthy, Gorey are at home to Dundalk, Boyne welcome Ashbourne to Shamrock Lodge, and Bective Rangers go to Kilkenny.