Clogher Valley moved six points clear at the summit as Galwegians suffered a third defeat of the season. At the foot of the table Omagh despite defeat strengthened their gap to avoid the drop zones.
Bangor (2T) 12-29 Clogher Valley (5T), Upritchard Park
Clogher kept up their momentum at the summit of the table and now move six points clear following the win over Bangor.
Skipper Paul Armstrong led the early charge to grab the opening try, it went unconverted and just minutes later Bangor would cross as Craig Gilory found Connor Scollan to dot down in the corner and level the contest at 5-5.
Clogher started to take control soon after, David Maxwell fired down the field from a penalty, the resulting lineout was strong, from their maul they kept possession working the phases and it materialised a try when Tomi Coulter squeezed under the posts and Maxwell converted. The visitors added their third try before the break, it was a beauty. Ewan Haire read the Bangor attack and sniped to intercept their move and race the near length of the pitch to score. Maxwell with the extras for a 19-5 lead at the interval.
Again Clogher struck first blood in the second half, Maxwell with another kick to the corner, their lineout again working wonders, the resulting score coming from Armstrong as he powered over from close range. Maxwell added the extra two on offer. Taine Haire used his footwork to set up their fifth try in the final quarter, getting through the tackles he sent Maxwell on a run and he crashed over for a 29-5 lead. Bangor added a consolation try late on as Ryan McCarroll dotted down from their lineout, Mark Widdowson converting.
Bruff (2T) 17-10 Omagh Academicals (1T), Kilballyowen Park
In testing conditions Bruff kept up their charge for the promotion play-offs as they produced a strong performance to overcome Omagh.
Josh Kyle made it the ideal start for Omagh as he crossed for an early try converted by Scott Elliot. The hosts started to get their attack moving as the minutes ticked by, Paul Collins struck a penalty to cut the deficit before Tom O’Dwyer got over for try and Collins made it 10-7 at the interval with the conversion.
As the second half wore on conditions made it tricky for both teams, John Sheehan meanwhile found the space to dot down a second try and Collins again converted. Omagh did grab a consolation score as Elliot dissected the posts in the latter stages of that second half via a drop goal, taking a losing bonus point which strengthened their gap from the drop zones.
Clonmel (1T) 13-21 Ballina (2T), High School Clonmel
Bottom placed Ballina produced a vital result in their hopes of safety, they remained bottom but it could well aid their fight in the coming weeks.
Bradley Nealon kickstarted the charge for Ballina with an unconverted try early on in the contest. Played in tough conditions it would take until after the half hour mark for the next score to be registered as Josef O’Connor landed a monster penalty from halfway. O’Connor slotted a second for the lead on the stroke of half time.
Ballina came right back into proceedings with Darragh Whyte kicking a penalty for an 8-6 lead early in the second half. Seven minutes later Whyte furthered the lead with another kick at the posts. It was all the visitors and when Joe Murphy steamrolled under the posts after the hour mark, the try converted from Whyte, saw Ballina ahead 18-6.
Clonmel would score a try from Seamus Keating with mere minutes of time left to cut the gap to five after O’Connor found the posts. Whyte seeing the result out with another penalty with full time around the corner.
Enniscorthy (3T) 25-20 Galwegians (3T), Alcast Park
Enniscorthy dented Wegians title hopes as they suffered another defeat this weekend.
Wegians did start the brighter with Andrew Sherlock crossing and Tiernan Neville’s conversion gave them a 7-0 lead. Scorthy came right back through Timmy Morrissey and Ben Kidd converted to level the tie. Neville would strike a penalty to shade a 10-7 lead for Galwegians at the interval.
Kidd levelled and then put Enniscorthy ahead for the first time in the contest with two penalties early in the second half. Scorthy found their groove and Lee Steacy would soon add a second try for the hosts, converted by Kidd the lead was 20-10.
Fiachra Hourihane soon added their third try and the hosts were slowly pulling away after that unconverted effort. Gary’s Daniel would cross for a late brace of Galwegians tries, enough for a losing bonus point.
Midleton (1T) 7-11 Tullamore (1T), Towns Park
Tullamore edged past Midleton in a low scoring affair at Towns Park, keeping their top four hopes alive in the process. A contest played in testing conditions, Sean McCabe’s late try sealing the win for Tullamore.
It was a tight opening half in Town’s Park, Conor Dunne dissecting the posts on two separate occasions to give the Midlanders a six point lead going to the interval. Underfoot conditions were tricky in that half, the weather making it look like a mud wrestling match at times.
Midleton would strike first blood in the second half, as they powered a 5m scrum to drive back Tullamore, they were awarded a penalty try for the lead. A game very much on a knife edge for the final minutes of play, in the end Tullamore snatched the win with a last minute try, as McCabe crossed the whitewash.