Guy Armitage, Halani Aulika and Max Lahiff got the tries for the home side, with full-back Tom Homer contributing 18 points with the boot.
Sale registered tries through Henry Thomas, Mark Cueto, Kearnan Myall and James Gaskell to pick up a valuable additional bonus point for the visitors, with Macleod adding a 13-point haul, including his crucial final effort.
Irish are now 12 points clear of bottom side London Welsh and are closing in on safety despite failing to see out the win while Sale will have to sweat a little longer after relinquishing the 10-point lead they held early in the second half.
But the three points accumulated in Reading put the Sharks eight ahead of Welsh with just three games remaining.
- Sports & Recreation
- James Gaskell
- Halani Aulika
- Mark Cueto