Following a couple of enforced delays this month due to the snow, Ashbourne RFC were finally crowned Leinster League Division 1A champions last Saturday afternoon when they beat Monkstown 31-8 away in Sydney Parade to finish eight points clear of second-placed Enniscorthy.

Ashbourne have now qualified for the All-Ireland League Round Robin which includes the other provincial league winners, Bandon, Instonians and most likely Ballina, with the winner advancing to Division 2C of the All-Ireland League and the runner-up playing off with the second last team in the AIL.

Midway through the opening half, it appeared as if spectators were in for quite a dramatic day as Ashbourne were struggling somewhat and trailed 8-0 in Sydney Parade after 20 minutes while Enniscorthy were leading 10-0 away to De La Salle Palmerston in Kirwan Park.

Kilkenny RFC

However, normal service was soon restored when their influential number 8 Simon Deevy, who has played a hugely significant role in the Meath club’s success this season, dragged the visitors back into the game, firstly with a barnstorming run that set up centre Mark Rooney’s try and then adding the go-ahead touchdown on the stroke of half-time that helped establish a 14-8 lead at the interval.

Further tries after the break from full-back Adam Martin and Deevy again secured the win and the title but the winners don’t get to sit on their laurels for long as this Saturday they welcome Cill Dara to Milltown House for a Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup quatrter-final tie, followed a week later by the visit of Instonians to their citadel as the high stakes AIL Round Robin gets underway.

It was a big weekend in the Leinster League with three of the five divisions going down to the wire.

Kilkenny won Division 1B after a dramatic final game against Suttonians, who were leaders prior to the game, while Wexford Wanderers were the winners of Division 2B.

Co Carlow had won Division 2A a fortnight earlier, winning in style with two games to spare and were unbeaten until a slip up in their final game against Mullingar three days after being presented with the trophy.

County Carlow RFC

Garda likewise had secured the Division 3 crown prior to their final game against RCSI (Surgeons) on Sunday and they finished their campaign in style with a 56-7 victory.

Garda Westmanstown RFC

Kilkenny trailed Suttonians by four points at the start of play on Sunday but in a pulsating encounter at their home in Foulkstown they overwhelmed their visitors on a 32-17 scoreline to snatch the title and with it automatic promotion to Division 1A while the Dubliners will have to playoff with De La Salle Palmerston for a spot in the top tier.

Wexford Wanderers

Wexford Wanderers led Athy by a single point on Sunday morning but they had a convincing 39-14 victory at home in Park Lane against North Meath who were automatically relegated as a result of the defeat while Athy managed to hold onto second place despite losing 25-15 in Moate to Midland Warriors and will now play Edenderry in a Division 2A promotion playoff.

In the other playoffs to be staged next weekend, Clondalkin will play Railway Union for the right to play in Division 1B and Roscrea will take on Ardee as both aspire to play in Division 2B next season.


Leinster League:

1A Ashbourne Monkstown
1B Kilkenny (Promoted) Portlaoise
2A Co Carlow (Promoted) Portarlington
2B Wexford Wanderers (Promoted) North Meath
3 Garda (Promoted) N/A


Promotion/Relegation Playoffs:

1A/1B DLSP v Suttonians Monkstown 7th April
1B/2A Clondalkin v Railway Union DLSP 8th April
2A/2B Edenderry v Athy Cill Dara 8th April
2B/3 Roscrea v Ardee Mullingar 8th April