Enniscorthy fly flag for Leinster in the Junior Cup
ENNISCORTHY are the lone Leinster side remaining in the All-Ireland Junior Cup following last Saturday's quarter-finals that saw the exit of both Dundalk and Coolmine, with the Wexford club's semi-final reward a home tie against favourites Portadown in a fortnight.
There was Leinster League action in Division 2B, where Birr continue to lead New Ross by a single point after both sides won, and in Division 3 where Swords are the new leaders.
Enniscorthy raced into an early lead at home against Coolmine and had established an advantage of 25-10 before the visitors launched a second half comeback.
They got to within three points before the hosts scored a late try to secure victory on a 30-22 scoreline as they try to emulate last season's run to the Junior Cup final, where they lost to Tullamore.
They face a tough task if they are to repeat the feat as former AIL club Portadown are riding high, just a point off the lead in the Ulster Junior League, and they survived a massive examination against Dundalk last Saturday, edging out the Louth side 15-12.
The home side were cruising early on and had built up a 12-3 half-time lead, but Dundalk managed to claw their way back and the sides were level on the hour.
A late Portadown penalty goal won it for the hosts, who are now solid favourites for the national title, having also won away in Monivea in the opening round; Skibbereen will host Ulster side Clogher Valley in the other semi-final on December 14.
Birr remain unbeaten after their trek to Leinster League newcomers Athboy resulted in an 11-8 victory, the second time this season the Offaly club has won at Townspark as they also recorded the first of their four wins on the opening day of Phase One back in September.
New Ross beat Athy 16-6 at home to remain in touch with Birr, while Edenderry are very much in the developing title race after they won 28-3 away at Wexford Wanderers, picking up a bonus point in the process to inch to within four points of the summit.
Swords beat North Meath 46-13 away in Kells to wrestle the Division 3 lead off Guinness, who were surprisingly beaten 26-22 at home in the Iveagh Grounds by Midland Warriors.
The two big games on Sunday are Birr v Edenderry at Riverside in Division 2B, while Swords are at home in ALSAA against third placed Arklow in Division 3.
After a week off, the second half of the campaigns resume in the other three divisions this weekend, and Division 1A leaders Wanderers face a stern test of their title credentials tomorrow when they visit a revitalised Tullow side in Black Gates.
Bottom club Enniscorthy will try to tap into their All-Ireland Junior Cup form when they welcome Cill Dara to Ross Road. Newbridge host second place Dundalk, while in the remaining fixture Clondalkin travel to Coolmine.
Division 1B leaders Ashbourne host Longford at home in Milltown House, while their closest pursuers Monkstown will entertain Kilkenny at Sydney Parade.
The game of the day, however, could well be the top-of-the-table clash in Division 2A between second placed North Kildare and leaders Gorey at the Maws in Kilcock; the home side are unbeaten since an opening-day loss at the Wexford club, while the visitors have been ruthlessly consistent in establishing a three-point lead over the pack.