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Seapoint see off tricky Cill Dara

Near-normal service was restored on the rugby pitches around the country last weekend after the weather-lengthened Christmas break, with all bar a dozen or so games throughout Leinster taking place.

There was certainly plenty of rustiness in evidence in the Leinster League, where many pundits will attribute the high error count to the five-week gap since the combatants last saw action in mid-December.

Seapoint maintained their five-point lead at the top of Division 1A when they overcame the tricky challenge posed away in Cill Dara on an 11-6 scoreline.

The leaders will rarely perform so tamely and win but their opponents, while dominating up front and having their moments, seldom applied the type of intense pressure that might have threatened an upset.



SANDWICHED

A penalty goal by out-half Brian Keegan and a try by lock-forward Stephen Flood put the visitors 8-0 in front at half-time; a further Keegan penalty goal, sandwiched between a pair of similar efforts by Cill Dara winger Tyson Doughty completed the scoring.

Second-placed Boyne beat Monkstown 12-6 at home to cling on to Seapoint's shirt-tails, but they were given a fright by the Dublin 4 outfit that are in seventh spot and battling against relegation.

The visitors led 6-0 at one stage through the reliable boot of out-half Eoin Hogan, who slotted a pair of penalty goals but an unconverted try by full-back Niall Kerbey just before half-time was instrumental in dragging the hosts back into the game.

Boyne had to wait until 10 minutes from time when winger Bevan Duffy scored the match-winning try that Kerbey converted before they could celebrate.

Dundalk took advantage of Cill Dara's slip-up to move above them into third position, but they were made to struggle by sixth-placed Skerries before prevailing 14-13.

Full-back Stephen McGee and prop forward Stephen Soraghan scored first-half tries that were converted by fly-half GearĂ³id McDonnell to put the hosts 14-8 ahead at the interval.

Skerries full-back David Quirke scored a try and out-half Mitch McGahan added a penalty goal in the opening period but the pivot was unable to add the extra points from the sideline when prop forward Packie O'Connor scored a late try in the right corner.

The Portlaoise v Tullamore fixture was postponed until February 14 as the Offaly club were in action in the semi-final of the AIB Junior Cup where they slipped to a 21-8 defeat as they tried to defend their title away to Armagh.

Tomorrow, Seapoint host Portlaoise in a top versus bottom clash whereby anything other than a convincing win by the league leaders would constitute a major surprise.

Boyne face a tricky test when they travel to face local rivals Skerries, a team desperate to drag themselves away from the danger zone.

Monkstown will hope that their luck changes when they entertain Cill Dara, while Tullamore return to league action at home to Dundalk.

Coolmine moved into second spot when they won 11-8 at league leaders Newbridge in the big Division 1B game last weekend and the west Dublin club face into another big clash when third-placed New Ross, surprising 14-8 home losers to bottom side Garda, are their visitors on Sunday.



BOUNCE

Newbridge, who managed to cling on to a two-point lead despite that loss, will hope to bounce back at home to Kilkenny, themselves narrow 7-6 losers in Wicklow.

Portarlington are now runaway 13-point leaders in Division 2 following their 28-19 win at home to Clane and they will be expected to maintain their 100pc record in Roscrea on Sunday. Edenderry have jumped to the top of Division 3 Section 'A' after beating Swords 27-3 at home but they face a tough test in Wexford on Sunday.