Clogher Valley extended their lead at the top of All-Ireland League 2C to 13 points ahead of second place Enniscorthy after a bonus point 29-15 win over Clonmel.

The Valley travelled to Tipperary to face Clonmel, who had a strong away win over Omagh in their last fixture.

A large Valley contingent made the long trip to Clonmel for a game that hung in the balance because of torrential rain in the area on Friday.

Late Saturday morning the pitch was passed fit to the relief of all.

Whilst very soft it did hold up fairly well but this together with the very strong wind contributed to a stop-start game.

Clonmel started the better of the two teams and the Valley defence had to be at their best to stop consistent attacks close to their line.

After five minutes Clonmel took the lead with a well-struck penalty, given the conditions to make it three-nil. 

Valley started to put phases together and after 10 minutes took the lead when Callum Smyton drove over from close range for an unconverted try.

Despite Clonmel losing a player to a yellow card, Clogher could not take advantage and half-time arrived with the score 5-3 to the visitors.

Strong words from Clogher coach Stephen Bothwell at the break saw them start the second-half with renewed vigour.

They camped on the Clonmel line but could not force their way over.

However, a long pass cut out the Clonmel defence for Taine Haire to score in the corner and Valley led 10-3 as the conversion was missed.

Impartial Reporter: Jamie Allen lines up the Clonmel outhalf.Jamie Allen lines up the Clonmel outhalf. (Image: Impartial Reporter)

The Valley continued to threaten the Clonmel line.

After 50 minutes, rather than take a scrum where they struggled, they took a short tap penalty and the forwards drove Eugene McKenna over the line for the third try which David Maxwell converted for 17-3.

Clonmel hit back after 60 minutes when a series of drives saw their outhalf go over for an unconverted try to bring the score to 17-8.

However, any idea of a Clonmel resurgence was quickly squashed as Valley retained the restart and drove up the pitch.

A series of rucks split the Clonmel defence and scrumhalf Matthew Bothwell spotted a gap on the blind side and raced 40 metres for a great individual try.

Impartial Reporter: Clogher's Matthew Bothwell is congratulated by Taine Haire after scored a try.Clogher's Matthew Bothwell is congratulated by Taine Haire after scored a try. (Image: Impartial Reporter)

Maxwell added the points to the bonus point try and Valley led 24-8.

The game was as good as over but with five minutes to go Clonmel struck back with a converted try in the corner with one of their few attacks of the second half.

Clonmel chased the losing bonus point by throwing the ball around but were caught out.

The outstanding Valley defence turned them over and the ball was moved wide and Taine Haire scored his second try.

With the kick missed the game ended 29-15 to Clogher.

With the main rivals Galwegians losing to Bruff 32-30, despite being ahead 25-7 at half-time, this win puts the Valley in a strong position with three games left to play.