Instonians remain as composed as ever to keep their 100% record alive, while wins for Clonmel, Skerries and Tullamore strengthen their hopes for promotion, Omagh meanwhile put a distance between them and the drop zone with a dominant display.
Clonmel 23-10 Bruff, Ardgaoithe
Clonmel have put distance between them and the chasing pack in the race for fourth spot, after a strong second half performance saw them leave with a bonus point.
Dean Slattery put the hosts ahead in the tenth minute of play as he got in over the corner for the opening try, Dylan Cadogan missed the conversion but it was an ideal start. It took until after the half hour mark for the game’s next score, with Bruff finally getting on the board as Paul Collins made no issues with the teams going into the break on the same score line.
The hosts drew first blood in the second half with a strong attacking move camping near the Bruff 22 eventually they managed to drive over a score, the conversion missed the mark but a short while later the Limerick natives drew level, Pa Maher getting over and Collins conversion made it 10-10.
Clonmel responded with a penalty to take the lead before finishing the half calm and composed, two late tries in the closing minutes ensuring they took the maximum haul from the tie.
Midleton 6-26 Instonians, Towns Park
Instonians have continued their impressive feet of bonus point wins in the division, battling the elements in a soft Towns Park at the weekend.
Stuart Lee put the hosts in front with a penalty as conditions made life difficult for both teams, Andrew McGrath replied well and crossed for their opening try to put them into the lead, Jonathan Milliken converted to add the extras. The half wore on as the muddy playing surface had a say in the game, pressure was applied by both but the ever reliable Bevan Prinslo had the final say of the half creating a cap and racing in to score, Millliken making it 14-3 at the break.
In similar fashion to the opening half it was the boot of Lee that served as the opening score as he cut the deficit, again it was a real slog fest but in the end the visitors speed and skill and attacking threat came to fruition, Milliken getting in for their third try as McGrath put the burners on to great the gap was the kicker was unable to convert, minutes later on the stroke of full time Matthew Keane secured the bonus point to wrap up a sensational showing as Milliken nailed the following conversion from the touchline.
Omagh Academicals 40-3 Ballina, Thomas Mellon Playing Fields
Omagh moved up to seventh after a commanding result against ninth placed Ballina that puts more of a gap between them and the bottom two sides.
Ben Matheson kicked Ballina’s opening score from a penalty in the opening minute, however it would prove to be their only score of the tie, by the ninth minute Omagh were level with a penalty of their own before crossing for a try in the 25th minute, the conversion good for a 10-3 lead.
It was all the Ulstermen and another penalty took them into the break 13-3 to the good, a nervy opening twenty minutes ensued in the second half as both looked for a breakthrough, again it was a penalty that put Omagh further ahead, they got their second try eight minutes later as Ballina started to fade, they were unable to add extras but went 21-3 ahead.
They wrapped up an impressive dominant showing in that second half with three late tries in a seven minute spell to take a bonus point from what was a much needed win.
Skerries 32-5 Sundays Well, Holmpatrick
Skerries kept up their hopes of promotion with a commanding performance against bottom placed Sundays Well.
The Goats had the optimum start with Davey Goodman getting over for a try but the conversion was just wide, it got better a short while later as Lorcan Jones skipped over in the corner for their second to double the advantage with another unconverted effort, time ticked on but Skerries remained in control Ronan Mulcahy dissected the posts with a penalty to leave it 13-0 at the break.
Into the second half and again the hosts kept on top as Goodman crossed for a brace shortly after the restart and Mulcahy this time added the extras for a 20-0 lead, Finn MacFhlannchadha dotted down to put Well on the board as we approached the halfway mark of the second half, Shane Murphy completed the bonus point for the hosts with a converted effort before captain Kevin McGrath added the fifth late on to cap off a strong display.
Tullamore 35-12 Bangor, Spollanstown
Tullamore bounced back from last week’s defeat to Ballina in emphatic style as they claimed a bonus point over Bangor.
Within the opening minute Tullamore hit the front after crossing the whitewash the conversion was good for a 7-0 lead, the hosts looked dominant early on and pretty soon after it was 14-0 after getting over in the corner they landed a second try by the sixth minute. Fortune favours the brave and for Tullamore it saw them get a third try as Bangor looked indecisive on how to clear a kick in behind by the hosts, the ball fell loose and the hosts were quick to drive over and score. The bonus point game just before the break and another successful conversion had them ahead 28-0 at the interval.
Bangor looked to start brighter in the second half to cut the deficit and after a smart tap and go move from a penalty, Ben Parker forced his way over to get their opening points, the conversion was unsuccessful but was sure to give them a lift, however Tullamore hit back minutes later with a tap and go penalty of their own saw them move 35-5 clear. Bangor pressed on and were rewarded with a consolation try with Blair Morgan crossing, Gareth Millar converted, choosing to drop kick the effort at goal.