Tuesday 24 April 2018

Leinster Club Rugby: Dundalk close gap at the top

Stock photo: Sportsfile
Stock photo: Sportsfile

Dermot O'Mahony

Action in the Leinster League resumed last weekend and despite the postponement of the Boyne v Enniscorthy fixture on Saturday due to waterlogged pitches, there was still plenty of excitement with leaders Ashbourne losing at home to close pursuers Dundalk in the day's top clash.

It was a tight affair under the Milltown House floodlights on Saturday evening and the home side led 5-0 at half-time courtesy of winger Matt Connolly's try.

Midway through the second half, centre Laurence Steen equalised with a try for the visitors before out-half Gearóid McDonald edged them ahead with a penalty goal.

The home side's response was swift as hooker James McGaghy emerged from the bottom of a try-scoring maul with the ball and out-half Donal Crotty kicked the conversion for four-point lead but with ten minutes remaining winger Derek Williams dived over for the decisive score that McDonald converted for the 15-12 victory.

The win trims Ashbourne's lead over Dundalk to two points with four games remaining but looming large on the horizon, a mere two points further adrift in third but with their refixed game in Drogheda against Boyne to come, are Enniscorthy.

Bottom of the table Monkstown made it two victories on the bounce by winning 27-7 away at De La Salle Palmerston as they try to do the impossible and escape automatic relegation.

Winger Bill Connors scored the first try that helped Monkstown lead 10-0 at the interval and further touchdowns from winger Neill Jones, flank forward Rory Walsh and replacement prop James Clifford ensured a maximum haul but the Dublin 4 club are still nine points from safety.

In the remaining Division 1A encounter, Wicklow beat visitors Gorey 21-3 at home in Ashtown Lane to move up to fourth place.

Leading 6-3 at half-time, the Garden County club wrapped up the victory after the break when winger Ben Porter and centre Shane Farrar dotted down.

While Monkstown are still favourites for the drop, the battle to avoid the relegation play-off spot sees only three points separating Wicklow on 22 points from Boyne in seventh place with DLSP and Gorey in between on 21 and 19 points respectively.

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