Wanderers cross another 'Bridge on road to promotion
Wanderers' dreams of a relatively swift return to the Ulster Bank League (AIL) moved a significant step closer on Saturday when they extended their lead at the top of Division 1A of the Leinster League to 14 points with only four games remaining.
The Dublin 4 club beat Newbridge 34-8 away in Rosetown, while on the other side of the Curragh their nearest challengers, Dundalk, slipped up against Cill Dara, the Kildare town side winning 15-9 at their Beechpark stronghold.
Wanderers' power up front, along with their strong bench, eventually wore down the stubborn home resistance after the visitors had established a 15-8 interval lead.
The hosts managed to hang on in there until midway through the second half, but were blown away late on as the visitors completed a six-try haul led by No 8 Damian Hall's hat-trick of touchdowns.
Lock forward Conor Walsh, prop forward Buhle Mxunyelwa and centre Peter O'Sullivan weighed in with the other tries for the leaders who could secure the title as early as tomorrow at home in Lansdowne Road against Enniscorthy.
A try in each half from centre Jake Holland were the key scores as Cill Dara moved up to third place, an exalted position considering they were last at the start of December and they're still only six points clear of bottom side Tullow in a riveting relegation battle.
Joining the Kildare town club on 21 points are Coolmine who enjoyed their best win of the season when they beat Tullow 38-14 at home in Ashbrook with full-back Niall O'Donohue and winger James Ring each bagging a pair of tries, while scrum-half Keith Moloney scored the west Dubliners' fifth try and out-half Donal Crotty converted all five as well as slotting a penalty goal.
Tomorrow, Coolmine host Cill Dara with the victor going a long way to securing their Division 1A status for another season.
Enniscorthy made the jump from last to fifth in this intriguing relegation dogfight when they beat Clondalkin 24-7 at home in Ross Road and leapfrogged their vanquished opponents in the process with winger David O'Dwyer, No 8 Sean Wall, full-back Ross Barbour and, in the last play of the game, flank forward Damien McCabe scoring the tries that has the Co Wexford club level with Newbridge on 20 points.
Clondalkin are suddenly in a downward tailspin having lost five on the bounce and dropped to seventh on 18 points after a lightning fast start to their first ever season in Division 1A that delivered three wins in their first four games.
Victory at home in Gordon Park tomorrow against Dundalk is imperative for the progressive Kingswood-based club, while Tullow are in the same must-win situation when they host Newbridge in Black Gates.
Division 1B leaders Ashbourne are idle this weekend after beating Wicklow 22-3 at home in Milltown House last Sunday, but second-placed Monkstown trimmed a point off their lead when they picked up a four-try bonus point in their 37-10 home win at Sydney Parade against Portarlington and they will hope to eat further into that six-point advantage when they travel to play Wicklow on Sunday.
Second-placed Co Carlow took advantage of Division 2A pacesetters Gorey's day off when they went to bottom side Clane and hammered them 76-3 and the Carlovians will try to maintain that pressure when they welcome third-placed North Kildare to Oak Park on Sunday, while the Co Wexford side face a tricky trip to Roscrea.
New Ross reasserted control of Division 2B with a 16-3 home win against Edenderry and they will attempt to maintain their six-point advantage when they travel to Athy on Sunday.
Midland Warriors are the new leaders in Division 3 after their 37-5 away win over North Meath and they will defend a two-point advantage when they entertain Guinness in Moate, also on Sunday.