Meath side setting the pace
A full series of games prior to Ireland's victory over Fiji on Saturday brought the curtain down on the first half of an extremely competitive Leinster League Division 1A campaign with Ashbourne continuing to set the pace after their 30-12 bonus-point home win at Milltown House over Monkstown.
Dundalk are in second place, five points adrift of the leaders after they beat Gorey 30-5 at home in Mill Road while Enniscorthy have recovered from their stuttering start to record their fifth win on the bounce, this time dispatching De La Salle Palmerston 45-0 at home in Ross Road and they lie in third spot, one point further off the pace.
Boyne are another team on the recovery route and they won a belter of a game 33-27 at home in Shamrock Lodge against Wicklow in a seven-try thriller. The Drogheda club have now moved out of the relegation zone after a second successive win.
Ashbourne led 17-5 at half-time with tries from centre Simon Deevy, scrum-half Gavin Kennedy and No 8 Jake Wall establishing control for the Meath club.
Bottom side Monkstown scored a try soon after the resumption to put the frighteners up the hosts who responded with Kennedy kicking a pair of penalty goals to seal the win before replacement back-row Conor Hurley bagged the precious bonus point with the last play of the game.
Centre Laurence Steen's try helped Dundalk into a rather comfortable 13-0 interval lead against Gorey but when the visitors scored immediately after the restart the Louth side knuckled down to secure the win and bonus point with further tries by scrum-half Mick Walls, winger Derek Williams and full-back Robbie Williams.
Enniscorthy performed a demolition job on De La Salle Palmerston who have now lost three in a row since they beat Ashbourne a little over a month ago to briefly move atop the rankings but have now dropped to fourth place, 10 points adrift of the summit.
The Wexford club led 21-0 at half-time with full-back Richard Dunne and winger Ivan Jacob dotting down for tries, and the pair added one apiece after the break while lock forward Joe Carley and scrum-half Arthur Dunne also bagged five-pointers as Enniscorthy cruised to victory.