Home Sport Rugby Victors of the ‘Battle of Laois’ go undefeated in the School Rugby...

Victors of the ‘Battle of Laois’ go undefeated in the School Rugby league

Portlaoise CBS 73 Mountrath CS 7
Leinster rugby development league

A victory for St Mary’s CBS Portlaoise in the highly anticipated ‘Battle of Laois’ between themselves and Mountrath Community School leaves the CBS team with an undefeated record in the schools league.

Two novices to the Laois schools rugby league –  St Mary’s CBS of Portlaoise togged out in their own club jerseys, while Mountrath Community School sported the maroon of Portarlington.

Despite the abysmal weather the game certainly did not disappoint. The match took place in Togher rugby grounds, a home venue for both teams.

The game began with Ben Dempsey for CBS kicking off to the MCS opponents. Despite this the CBS boys seemed to hit the ground running, quickly turning over the ball.

Fionn Ging was the first to seize the ball for CBS, and with the aid of his fellow forwards drove the ball over the line to get his first of three tries within the opening minutes of the game.

After nine minutes the score was 19-0 to the CBS boys, however this did not dampen the spirits of the Mountrath team who fought back with tremendous style and class to claim the next score of the game.

This marked a turning point in the game with both forward packs clashing head to head in a sheer battle of force and power – the likes we thought we would never see between two Laois schools. referee Philip Bradley being a great source of encouragement to both teams during the course of the game.

This battle raged for the whole rest of the first half, with neither side conceding to the other in persistent attacks.

One CBS player worth mentioning was Ciaran Bobo Lawal who performed amazingly, hitting every ruck and making some excellent runs.

Unfortunately Ciaran picked up an ankle injury and had to be carried from the field of play in the dying minutes of the first half.

The second half begun with major changes to both sides, with Mountrath losing another key player to a Leinster hurling final – where Mountrath recorded a tremendous victory.

CBS however came out to the second half even more determined than before. Both backs and forwards began to work seamlessly together with a performance that displayed the real meaning of the word teamwork.

Captain for the day Mitch Fitzpatrick, along both scrum halves Mark Kelly and Marc Bracken took charge of their team and co-ordinated their attacks, with forwards driving up in pods over and over in a performance that left space wide for the backs to run the ball home on more than one occasion.

Sam Birrane of CBS again performed excellently, taking charge and showcasing his phenomenal skill, scoring a total of three tries and nine conversions. Sam is clearly a player to watch out for in the future.

Even with CBS rolling on subs constantly, the boys showed exactly what hard work and determination can do for a team, with a third of the CBS team who finished the game having never played previous to rugby beginning in the school this year. #

CBS have now topped the Leinster Schools development league and will progress to the Cup stages of the competition. This will certainly pose a huge challenge to this new team, however they look forward to seeing if this hard work and perseverance in the game will continue to stand to them as they grow.

Many thanks to Ben Reddin and Darragh Ramsbottom for compiling this enthralling match report.

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