The underage rugby scene in Laois is firmly underway – with Portlaoise U-15s and U-18s beginning their campaigns.
Here is a run down of the games that they have played so far.
Portlaoise U-18s secured full points in their first Leinster League game at Togher after they defeated Ashbourne recently.
Portlaoise were crowned U-17 Premier League Champions with the same team last year, they added a few more lads which undoubtedly has straightened the squad.
The game was played in perfect conditions and right from the off Portlaoise were awarded a penalty, which scrum half William Reilly took quickly and made significant inroads into the Ashbourne half.
Following two of three more phases of play, out half Ben Conroy spotted a gap in the defence and crossed to score for a brilliant score with his half-back partner William Reilly converting.
Almost from the restart Portlaoise advanced into the opposition half and Paddy Coss plunged over to finish off a powerful run, Brandon Nolan converted a log range effort to leave the score at 14-0.
Brandon Nolan followed up his conversion with Portlaoise’ s third try, popping up at the end of a well-constructed attack, Reilly converted.
The home club took their foot off the pedal and allowed Ashbourne in for a try under the post, which they converted to leave the score at half time 21-7 to the home team.
The second half started in the same vain as the first with full back Allan Connolly collecting Conroy’s long pass, expertly stepping inside the Ashbourne full back’s challenge and finishing with aplomb in between two other defenders, again converted by the scrum half Reilly.
This was real squad effort with all finishers now on the field and you could see they were anxious to make an impression through some fantastic phases of play.
Next on the score sheet was Connor Hancock who scored the first of his two try’s when he burrowed over from close range despite the best efforts of the Ashbourne right on the line, with time running out Conor’s next effort saw him with a jet-heeled run, brilliantly evading three tackles on his way to the whitewash, Reilly converted one out of the last two conversation to leave the score at 47-12.
Next up for the lads was an away trip to Naas on Monday where they lost out by 19-5.
Portlaoise RFC U-15s got their second win in the Leinster league after a hard fought victory over Tullow on Saturday.
Portlaoise opened the scoring when Ciaran Culliton broke through the Tullow defense and stepped the fullback to score under the posts. Matthew Coonan slotted the conversion to make it 7-0 to the home side.
Further trys from Conor Doran and Jack Heffernan gave Portlaoise a convincing lead but Tullow fought back and after some poor defense by Portlaoise, Tullow scored two trys to put them back in the game.
Portlaoise rallied and after some good attacking play, Brian Keane scored to leave a half time score 24-12 to Portlaoise.
A second try by Conor Doran in the second half restored the lead to 17 points but again some soft defense let Tullow in for two trys leading to a tense final ten minutes. Portlaoise held out for a 29-24 win.
This win adds to Portlaoise’s opening win v Birr in which Glen Connolly was the difference with his three trys in a 34 7 victory.
Next up for Portlaoise is a home game against Wexford on Saturday.