Leinster Leagues set to conclude this weekend
March 23, 2023 10:10 am Site Editor
The business end of the Leinster Leagues is upon us now. Already one of the five divisions has concluded while the other four officially finish up on the 26 March. Some of these are already decided but is has been a great season in the leagues!
The premier division is Leinster League Division 1A and for the second season running, Bective were presented with the trophy on Saturday in Gorey RFC. It was fitting in some ways that it was at the Wexford club as Gorey had produced a strong showing to come second. Bective completed the double as their second XV won the 2nds League as well with Gorey finishing third and Ashbourne in second place. There was only four points separating the top three sides.
But in the division the drama, which could not have been scripted better, was with the four bottom teams. All four were playing one another and all four needed to win to avoid the bottom two places. Going into the weekend Seapoint were in pole position on 28 points, with Boyne on 26, Kilkenny on 25 while Ashbourne were on 24.
Post-Christmas, Seapoint were a new team and recovered from being adrift at the bottom to end up in fourth place by virtue of an 8-3 win over Kilkenny. They nudged Suttonians out of fourth spot and gained qualification for the AIL Junior Cup next season along with Bective, Gorey and Monkstown.
The bonus point that Kilkenny gained was not enough to save them from automatic relegation as Ashbourne went to North East neighbours Boyne and ran out convincing winners by 18 points to nil in very poor conditions. This guaranteed the Meath side sixth place and a spot next season in the division. Boyne stay ahead of Kilkenny by virtue of a better head to head record and are in the promotion relegation play off to be played in April.
Bective now face into the AIL Promotion Play-Offs. These are being played as a double header in Coolmine RFC on the 1 April. Bective play Clogher Valley RFC, who are the All Ireland Junior Cup champions. It is a big challenge for the Donnybrook side but we wish them well. Should they make it through to the final, they have two shots at promotion, and a lot of Leinster sides are hoping that they succeed. The team that wins the final gains automatic promotion, while the losing finalist play the side that finishes second from bottom in AIL Division 2C.
On Sunday, 26 March the other divisions conclude but three divisions are already decided upon. DLSP have won 2A, Edenderry are clear in 2B while the Kells based side of North Meath are Division 3 champions.
In Division 1B, Tullow are in pole position, four points clear of Wicklow and with an away game at Cill Dara, while Wicklow entertain Co. Carlow. Neither side have easy games as Cill Dara need a result to ensure they avoid the play off position while Co Carlow have shown great promise throughout the season. This is a division to watch but Tullow should make it. The other two games in the division have also got significance. Longford go to Dundalk needing a win and possibly a try bonus point to avoid relegation and have shown some late form. Dundalk look safe but will want to avoid any slip ups. They will also hope for Athy to beat Mullingar, the latter being 4 points clear of Longford who are bottom. This will be a busy division on the 26th.
In 2A, with DLSP being the champions there is a battle between Clondalkin (38 points) and Coolmine (36 points) for the play-off spot. Clondalkin are at home to seventh-placed Newbridge while Coolmine entertain New Ross. The outcome will be important for both sides, while Portlaoise are already relegated.
In 2B, second place is up for grabs with Balbriggan four points clear of Roscrea. Balbriggan visit Garda Westmanstown, while Roscrea will need to visit and beat the champions, Edenderry. The Fingal side have the advantage and it is theirs to lose. Arklow are relegated and there is no play off game in this division as there were only seven teams in it.
North Meath are Division 3 champions and won promotion, but there was strong showing from both Tallaght and Midland Warriors. The Declan Mahon Cup was played for in Ashbourne earlier in the month and North Meath beat Tallaght in an exciting game.
Once the last games are played the promotion/relegation play-offs will be planned and played but should Bective FC go all the way back to the AIL, these game become void, as there is no Leinster side coming down from the AIL. To maintain the divisions as eight-team divisions, the two teams in the playoff make up the division for next season, so many teams in Leinster are routing for Bective to succeed on April 1.