Holders Boyne see off Tullow to make last eight of Towns Cup
The sun shone and the crowds came out in their droves as the skill and passion of the Towns Cup reached the second round stage last weekend, and more of the same can be expected when the four quarter-finals are down for decision this coming Sunday.
Nowhere were the throngs of people greater than at Tullow where both sides brought vociferous and avid bands of supporters as holders Boyne arrived to defend their precious silverware.
It was a pulsating and riveting battle that was in doubt until the final whistle when the visitors progressed on an 8-5 scoreline and will now host Enniscorthy in the third round.
Flanker John Roche had the home side in front with a barnstorming try on three minutes but a malaise that struck both sides' normally reliable kickers kept the scoreboard from ticking over.
Boyne full-back Niall Kerbey eventually narrowed the gap with a successful penalty goal just before the break, and winger Conor McGann scored the decisive try 10 minutes after the resumption following good work by his centre Harry Kennedy.
Despite the best efforts of the hosts, the Drogheda club prevailed and achieved what very few do, a Cup win in Black Gates.
Enniscorthy franked their excellent form with a 46-14 demolition of Wexford Wanderers in Wexford and they will travel to Shamrock Lodge unbeaten in all competitions since early November.
This is undoubtedly the tie of the round and the visitors will arrive in Drogheda confident of an upset as they've prospered under the tutelage of player-coach Declan O'Brien, the one-time destructive Leinster blind-side flanker.
Two other clubs that had big home wins on Sunday, New Ross, 36-9 over Mullingar, and Dundalk, 52-6 against Longford, meet in New Ross in another appetising encounter.
Wicklow hung for grim life in a 14-11 home win against Clondalkin and their reward is a third home tie in a row, this time with Cill Dara, a team that failed to impress in their 17-12 local derby success against visitors Athy.
The remaining game is at Portlaoise where the hosts will be encouraged by their storming second half performance in Newbridge that saw them run out 37-11 winners as they welcome neighbours Tullamore, 24-11 victors at home over Arklow.
There is some Leinster League action as well, and Portarlington will be expected to wrap up the Division 2 crown at bottom side North Kildare, where the champions only need a point to secure the title while defeat would almost certainly seal the host's relegation.
Clondalkin and Ashbourne are locked in a battle for second spot and they face off in Ashbourne in a critical encounter that'll go a long way to determining who gets a crack at Garda in the promotion/relegation playoff.
Tonight Gorey host Mullingar in a vital relegation clash, on Sunday Roscrea are desperately in need of the points when they visit Longford, and the winner of the Athy v Clane local derby will probably be safe for another season in Division 2.
Wexford Wanderers will earn promotion from Division 2 Section 'A' with victory in Rathdrum, while Edenderry will be only a win away from the title if they triumph in Malahide.
In Section 'B', Balbriggan and North Meath will need to beat IT Carlow and Birr at home respectively in order to ensure a winner-takes-all final day showdown next week.