Carlow drop Cill Dara in it
Co Carlow all but ensured their participation in Division 1A of the Leinster League next season when they convincingly beat fellow strugglers Cill Dara 28-11 in Oak Park last Saturday and in the process, barring an unlikely series of results, condemned the Kildare town club to the drop.
Tries from scrum-half David Barron, centre Paddy Barcoe and replacement prop forward Dave Cassidy along with a masterful kicking performance from out-half Billy Murphy (older brother of Munster's Johne) ensured that the Carlovians can expect to play in the province's top Division for another year.
Elsewhere, Tullamore beat visitors Skerries 27-20 and Coolmine's fine run came to an abrupt halt in Dundalk when they lost 24-15.
Garda were promoted from Division 1B when they won 27-10 in Portlaoise and they now need just one more victory to clinch the title.
Enniscorthy look certain to join them in Division 1A next season following their bonus point 33-16 win away against relegation-threatened New Ross.
Monkstown won their vital home clash with Tullow 32-17, a result that makes the Dublin 4 club hot favourites for the promotion play-off spot.
West Offaly Lions eventually picked up their first win of the campaign when they beat Portarlington 10-9 at home and this keeps their mathematical chances of survival still alive.
Clondalkin moved into second place in Division 2 when they won a tough encounter 18-15 in Mullingar, Clane got back into the promotion play-off hunt with a bonus point 32-20 win at Wexford Wanderers while Kilkenny remain in contention for the same precious place after a 17-3 win in Edenderry.
There was no change at the top of Division 3 Section "B" (no games in Section "A") as the top three, Swords, Arklow and Guinness all won comfortably.
The Newstalk Towns Cup gets under way tomorrow with the local derby in Beechpark between Cill Dara and Clane (KO 5:30 pm).
The remaining games are on Sunday and among the participants are debutants West Offaly Lions who make the journey to Kilcock to tackle North Kildare.
The Ferbane based club will be buoyed by last weekend's success and with the hosts going well in Division 3 a mighty tussle is in prospect.
The holders Boyne, who are going for three in a row, were awarded a bye into the second round along with Dundalk.
Runners up for the past two years and victors on four occasions Tullamore are at home to 10-time champions Navan, who are represented by their second XV, while Co Carlow, who top the Towns Cup roll of honour with 12 wins, face a tricky task in Clondalkin.
Skerries have been in terrific form of late and will fancy their chances of adding to the 11 pennants that adorn their clubhouse even though they face a testy opener at Kilkenny.
Portlaoise have always produced the goods at Cup time and will be keen to repeat an earlier home Division 1B win when Enniscorthy visit Togher.
Newbridge are the remaining Division 1A side and they take on Roscrea at this stage of the Towns Cup for the third year in succession and will be confident of a third win.
The 2008 runners-up Tullow will face a tough battle against Edenderry.
Meanwhile, there is a local derby in Arklow when Rathdrum visit the club. Naas visit Ashbourne, Athy provide hosts Longford with a stern test, Mullingar faceNew Ross, Wexford Wanderers will commence their campaign in Portarlington and finally, 2006 beaten finalists Wicklow host Gorey.
*The draw for the second round of the Newstalk Provincial Towns Cup will take place in North Kildare RFC immediately after the North Kildare v West Offaly Lions tie.