Leinster Club Rugby: DLSP take top honours
De La Salle Palmerston won their Leinster League Division 1A top-of-the-table clash at home in Kirwan Park on Saturday but the two bonus points picked up in defeat by Ashbourne could yet be of immense value when the destination of the title is decided next March.
The Kilternan club won 31-29, scoring three tries as they opened up a two-point lead at the summit but a late surge from the Co Meath club earned the losers both four-try and losing bonus points.
Tries by flanker Ronan Costelloe and winger Ross Duff helped DLSP into a strong 18-10 half-time lead and despite conceding an early try on the resumption, they kept the scoreboard ticking over through the prolific boot of scrum-half Ben Stephens before winger Kevin Burke wrapped up the victory with a late try.
Ashbourne then staged a dramatic recovery as they scored a pair of injury-time converted tries from replacement lock forward Sean Kent and flanker Sean McKeon to add to a first-half penalty try and scrum-half Gavin Kennedy's touchdown that netted them two precious bonus points.
Dundalk are up to third place following a 26-20 away win at Shamrock Lodge in their Louth derby clash with Boyne, a result that consigns their vanquished neighbours to seventh place.
Out-half Gearóid McDonnell's first-half try kept Dundalk in touch as they trailed 8-7 at the break but a late surge in which they scored three fourth-quarter tries through McDonnell, full-back Robbie Williams and wing-forward Tiernan Gonnelly ensured they returned home with maximum points.
Bottom side Monkstown lost again but not before they made visitors Gorey fight every inch of the way for their 18-10 win at Sydney Parade.
Monkstown led 10-7 at half-time as the Wexford side relied on an early penalty try to stay in touch and they didn't seal the victory until Garret Batter scored a try eight minutes from the end.
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Enniscorthy have recovered from their slow start with a pair of wins, the most recent of which was an impressive 25-11 win against Wicklow on Saturday.
Centre Ivan Poole's try just before the interval edged the Slaneysiders 7-6 ahead at half-time and they pulled away in the second half as winger Ivan Jacob and full-back Richard Dunne dotted down for five-pointers in addition to a penalty try to secure a five-point haul.
There is Division 1A action tonight when Ashbourne welcome Boyne to Milltown House while tomorrow DLSP travel to Clonattin to face Gorey, Enniscorthy are at home at Ross Road against Monkstown and Dundalk host Wicklow at Mill Road.
Tullow continue to lead Division 1B after a 27-8 home win against North Kildare.