Portlaoise U-17 rugby team are enjoying a special year and they qualified for a third final of the season on Sunday.
Before the Plate semi final, they had already reached the North Midlands area final where they will take on Naas while Navan will be the opponents in Leinster League Premier Final.
Tullow stood in Portlaoise’s way on Sunday as they attempted to set up a plate final date with Carlow-Longford next weekend.
The Laois lads started the game with intent and following a great run the big Portlaoise number 8 Adam Duffin off loaded to Jay Buggy who scored in the corner.
The try was converted by William Reilly. Portlaoise had to defend for the next ten minute due to their failure to secure the restart from the try.
They cleared their lines and moved up the pitch when some terrific link play between Allan Connolly and Willam Reilly saw Connolly put through a lovely kick for Reilly to touch down, unfortunately the try was disallowed as the referee blew it up a bit early giving them a penalty for a high tackle on Connolly.
The ball was dispatched to touch for an attacking line out. A training ground move from the line out saw Adam Duffin cross for Portlaoise’s second try.
This was converted by Reilly. Portlaoise continued to pile the pressure on Tullow, who had competed in the Division 1 final the previous Saturday and lost out to Kilkenny.
Brian Dunne the big Portlaoise first center was causing havoc in the Tullow defense. He broke up the field and off loaded to Nebojsa Kukic who was just denied a score.
The ball was quickly recycled and Paddy Coss had work to do but managed to cross for the try, Reilly converted. Tullow attacked on the stroke of half time but a crunching hit from Adam Duffin and saving tackle from Jay Buggy brought that effort and the first half to an end which saw Portlaoise lead 21-0.
The second half started in the same vain with Portlaoise piling pressure onto the Tullow defense. A brilliant individual effort from Adam Duffin saw him cross for his second try which Reilly converted.
All the Portlaoise panel had game time at this stage and positions for the upcoming finals are up for grabs. With this in mind the guys that came in at half time had a point to prove and following some intense pressure from the Portlaoise back-row of Robbie O’Rourke, Tadhg Mullen and Adam Duffin they turned over the ball, Brandon Nolan pounced and crossed for the first of his two try’s which, were both converted again by William Reilly.
Portlaoise finished off with Try’s from Allan Connolly and Jay Buggy’s second. To leave the final score at 52-0. This was polished performance by Portlaoise which saw an impressive six kicks converted out of eight for their captain William Reilly.
There were many candidates for man of the match with good performances from Allan Connolly, Nebojsa Kukic, Jack Rouget, Tadhg Mullen, Brian Dunne, Ethan Hussey and Daniel Whelan, but this accolade has to go to the number eight Adam Duffin who has the potential to be the best number eight at this age group in the Leinster League.
TEAM: Liam Og Lynch, John Keogh, Paddy Coss, Alan Maher, John Startin, Adam Duffin, Alex Boateng, Robert Laffan, Daniel Whelan, Bryan Redmond, Fionn McWey, Jack Rouget, Robbie O’Rourke, Jordan Ratcliffe, Adrian Brzozowski, Eoghan Fitzpatrick, Ethan Hussey, Allan Connolly, Tadhg Mullen, Brandon Nolan, Jay Buggy, Njegos Kukic, Nebojsa Kukic, Brian Dunne, Ben Conroy and William Reilly