During this period the Leinster Leagues came into being and Ashbourne started out in Division 3 and gradually worked their way through the divisions. The next significant development in on – field activities involved a move to Provincial Rugby in 1998, which was a move that was discussed long and hard before finalised.
A Declan Barrett led the team that won promotion that year from Division 2 to 1. This was a good side and promotion was well deserved.
In the first season the club almost reached the Holy Grail by making the Provincial Towns Cup final at Mullingar but were beaten by Navan that day. Jimmy Dillon was the club coach that year while ex Navan player Paddy McLoughlin captained the team. John May was mister rugby at the time, and he managed the side and brought a level of professionalism to the set up.