Instonians continued their AIL promotion push on Saturday afternoon with the first match of the provincial champions round robin taking place at Shawsbridge. Unfortunately for the Ulster champions they lost the opening match against, Leinster champions, Enniscorthy.

While automatic promotion may be beyond Instonians, dependant on Enniscorthy’s other results, they still have a lot to play for with an additional promotion playoff available for the second highest ranked side at the end of the round robin series.

The Leinster champions set the pace early in this match at Shawsbridge with Richard Dunne collecting a chip ahead to score.  The chip provider, Ivan Poole, added the extras for the visitors to take a 0 – 7 lead.

The Enniscorthy duo combined again to double the score shortly after, Dunne bagging his brace following a move off the back of a lineout, Poole again converted to stretch the lead to 0 – 14. The visitors winger, Ivan Jacob,  got in on the act for their third try of the first half. Poole converted and added a penalty before the break to give Enniscorthy a 0 – 24 lead as the teams changed ends

Instonians finally got their name on the scoreboard early in the second half with Bradley McNamara getting a try on his debut. Richard McCarthy converted to take the score to 7 – 24.

Despite the Belfast sides scrum domination they still gave away to many penalties and Poole took advantage to knock over a three pointer for the visitors, their only score in the second half.

Instonians continued to create chances, in a much improved second half performance, but they were only able to make one count when winger Ross O’Donnell crossed for an unconverted try to give a final score of 12 – 27 in the visitors favour.

Realistically Instonians are going to have to win their other two games against Connemara (Connacht) and Clonmel (Munster) if they are to stay in the promotion race. Fixtures below:

Saturday, April 6 – Connemara v Instonians, Monastery Field

Saturday, April 13 – Instonians v Clonmel, Shaw’s Bridge