Skerries breeze past Monkstown but Tullamore on tail for top-spot
BIG crowds were the order of the day as action in the Leinster League resumed last weekend following its mid-winter hiatus.
Skerries maintained their two-point lead in Division 1A when tries from winger Paul Devitt, prop forward Mark Nally, winger Kevin McGrath and a pair by fullback David Quirke saw them comfortably see off bottom side Monkstown 40-5 at their Holmpatrick fortress on Saturday.
Second-placed Tullamore stayed in touch as they also garnered a four-try bonus point in a 32-5 home success against second from bottom Dundalk with touchdowns from No8 Adrian Hanley, out-half Aaron Deverell (2), replacement lock forward Paul McNiff and centre David Clavin.
Coolmine had to come from behind to get the better of visitors Garda by 13-10 with second row Ger O'Rourke and hooker John Lee scoring second-half tries to help steer the home side well clear of the relegation zone.
The biggest crowd in Division 1A was probably in Enniscorthy where the home side kept in touch with the leaders with an 18-10 victory over long-time pacesetters Newbridge.
Full-back Ross Barbour and out-half Ivan Poole scored first-half tries as the Slaneysiders came racing out of the traps and then held off the stern comeback by the Kildare club.
Enniscorthy now trail Skerries by three points and this win was the first of three monumental home clashes for the county Wexford club against the Division 1A title pretenders that will be vital in determining the ultimate destination of the Eddie Egan trophy.
The second of these titanic games is on tomorrow when the two top try-scoring teams in the league, with 62 touchdowns between them to date, go head to head as Skerries make the trip to Ross Road to face Enniscorthy.
Tullamore travel to Garda and will be looking to profit from any slip up ahead of them while the big relegation battle is in Dundalk where Monkstown are the visitors to Mill Road with the outlook for the loser being extremely bleak.
The remaining game in Division 1A tomorrow is between Newbridge, now almost certainly out of the title race as they trail the leaders by eight points, and their visitors, Coolmine, who are on a three-game winning streak.
The overall biggest crowd of the weekend was undoubtedly in Oak Park on Sunday for the Carlovian derby when Co Carlow moved into third place in Division 1B following their 16-11 home win against Tullow, a result that gives the hosts local bragging rights as they also won the away game earlier in the season.
Despite this impressive jump up the standings, however, Co Carlow trail leaders Cill Dara and second-placed Wicklow by a massive eight points and the title would appear to be between the top two, especially as they meet on Sunday week in what may well be a league decider.
Cill Dara came from behind to beat Longford 21-16 at home in Beechpark at the weekend while Wicklow were undone by a last-minute try in Portlaoise as they lost 14-11.
Before their top-of-the-table clash in little over a week, Cill Dara travel to Tullow on Sunday while Wicklow are at home to Co Carlow.
The sad news this week in Division 2A was the withdrawal from the league of the West Offaly Lions who were unable to muster a team to travel to leaders Portarlington last weekend.
Gorey continue to lead Division 2B by five points after an 8-0 home win against Railway Union and Guinness have re-established control of Division 3 after their 28-0 home win over Birr opened up an eight-point gap at the summit.