Leinster Club Rugby: Meath boys top of table
Ashbourne has jumped to the top of the Leinster League Division 1A for the first time in the club's history following their 31-0 home win over neighbours Boyne last Friday night, while the following day their predecessors at the top De La Salle Palmerston slipped to a 20-10 in Gorey.
And tomorrow one of the country's most popular club competitions commences with first round action in the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup spread throughout the four provinces.
The weather had a huge effect on games over the weekend with Storm Brian baring its teeth, particularly on Friday night but the ever-reliable pitches in Milltown House stood up to the driving wind and rain to allow Ashbourne vault to the summit of the league.
Playing against the elements in the first half the hosts got off to a dream start as centre Simon Deevy scored a try inside two minutes, and when scrum-half Gavin Kennedy added another five minutes before the break to go along with his three successful shots at goal, Ashbourne were in control and leading 17-0.
Second-row Ciarán Roche dotted down for the third try after half-time but the winners had to wait until injury time before securing the bonus when out-half Adam Martin crashed over to score the home side's fourth try.
Despite the continuing wintry conditions on Saturday afternoon, De La Salle Palmerston headed to Clonattin to try to reclaim top spot but despite leading early they came unstuck.
Tries scored by lock forwards Niall Mahon and Robin Wilson edged the visitors seven points clear before the half-hour mark but flanker Phil Horan's try converted by centre Stephen Dukes, who also kicked an early penalty goal, ensured the teams went to the interval level at 10-10.
Another Dukes penalty goal nudged the home side ahead early in the second half before wing-forward Killian Breen's try 15 minutes from the end secured the win for Gorey.
Enniscorthy won for the third time in a row as they overcame bottom club Monkstown 29-0 at home in Ross Road and after a slow start to their campaign last season's runners-up are now up to a challenging third place.
Prop forward Angelo Todisco and second-row Joe Carley scored first-half tries as the Wexford club led 12-0 at the break and the home side powered away after the restart as Carley, centre Ivan Poole and winger David O'Dwyer all added tries.
In the opening round of the All-Ireland Junior Cup tomorrow there are home ties for the holders Ashbourne against Ballyclare from Ulster and DLSP who welcome Connemara to Kirwan Park. The other two Leinster teams have been drawn away with Gorey heading to Belfast to play Instonians while Enniscorthy take on Newcastle West.