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No place to 'Hide for Kilkenny in promotion battle

The business end of the Leinster League is upon us and while much has been decided there are still some significant issues to be resolved.

Four of the five Division titles have been secured with Tullamore having won Division 1A, Tullow Division 1B, Railway Union Division 2A and Wexford Wanderers Division 3.

The race for Division 2A is an incredibly tight two-horse race with Kilkenny currently edging Malahide by a mere point with a couple of games remaining while the battle at the other end of the table is still going strong.

On Sunday Kilkenny face a very tricky encounter in Roscrea where their hosts have traditionally been extremely difficult to beat, while Malahide should prove too strong at home for relegation battling Clane, although the visitors will be encouraged by their 25-15 home win against Roscrea in a rearranged fixture last Saturday, a victory that has lifted the county Kildare side to within two points of avoiding an unwanted relegation play-off.

New Ross are now seven points adrift in last place and will be relegated if they fail to pick up any points at home to third-placed Gorey while Portlaoise in sixth place will be keen to beat Mullingar at home in an effort to put some daylight between themselves and that play-off spot as they try to avoid a last day winner-takes-all clash in Clane a week later.

In Division 1B the race to finish runners up to Tullow could also go down to the wire as both Longford and Portarlington, who meet in Longford on Sunday, trail second-placed Clondalkin by five points.

Clondalkin face an awkward trip to Ashbourne who are trying to repel a last-minute surge by bottom club Co Carlow and a win would guarantee the county Meath side a play-off against the Kilkenny/Malahide runner-up.

Champions Tullow will be presented with the Ray Campion trophy as Division 1B winners on Sunday after their home clash with neighbours Co Carlow and will be in no mood to grant any favours to a side that is suddenly resurgent but may have left it too late with their Houdini-like attempted escape from relegation.

The battle for second place in Division 2B is another tight affair with North Kildare, who are at home in Kilcock against fellow county side Athy, enjoying a two-point advantage over Edenderry with the Carbury-based outfit entertaining Arklow as they strive to capitalise on any slip ups ahead of them.



Railway Union will be also presented with their trophy on Sunday after their home game with Guinness.

Following Balbriggan's withdrawal from Division 2B at the start of the season Swords have finished last and will play-off with Birr who have been confirmed as runners up to Wexford Wanderers in Division 3.

Tomorrow Tullamore will be presented with the Eddie Egan trophy for winning Division 1A after their home game with Newbridge while two All Ireland Junior Cup places remain up for grabs in the final series of games in the Premier Division.

Tullamore and Wanderers have secured their places and only three points separate Coolmine in third from Enniscorthy in sixth which gives all games tomorrow an edge, and if Tullamore are promoted to the AIL, the fifth place finisher will take their place in the Junior Cup.

Coolmine visit Cill Dara who are proving to be obstinate opponents since the New Year, Dundalk are at home to Wanderers while Enniscorthy will be expected to take the maximum haul from their visit to Garda.