There were mixed fortunes for our two local rugby teams who compete in the Leinster Rugby Leagues at the weekend.
Portarlington scored a big win to keep themselves in the hunt for promotion from Division 3 while things didn’t go as well for Portlaoise.
Thanks to Gordon Allen, Director of Rugby of Portarlington, for their report.
Check out reports on both games below:
Portarlington 21 Ardee 0
Leinster Rugby League Division 3
Portarlington 1sts stayed in contention for honours in Division 3 of the Leinster league with another fine win over 2nd placed Ardee at Lea Road in Sunday.
Played in excellent dry but cold conditions both teams were determined to play open rugby. Having lost a close game to Ardee at the start of the campaign this was very much a revenge mission for the Port lads.
However it was the visitors that started the stronger and totally controlled possession and territory for the opening quarter with the home side finding it difficult exit their own half.
Strong running from the Ardee lose forwards in the tight initially allowed for space out wide and then at every opportunity they spread it wide.
The Ardee backline had some elusive runners who created a high number of missed tackles but what we came the trait of the match in an excellent team defensive effort where one Port player missed a tackle there was another waiting to make the tackle.
As became evident by the end of the game this huge defensive effort frustrated the visitors and for all their possession and territory they weren’t troubling the scoreboard early penalties on 7, 18, and 23 mins were kicked to the corner.
The Port lads were equal to the task and either won or spoiled the lineout or defended the driving mauls effectively to turn over the ball. T
he front five of Meagher, Murphy, Houlihan, Hunt and Oakley provided the platform for the back row of Bracken, Petriw, Brazon to keep the pressure on their dangerous opposition numbers.
Petriw particularly carried the ball with great vigour rolling back the years. On 31 minutes the visitors finally took their first shot on goal with an opportunistic shot at goal from just inside the Port half which fell just short.
Despite this missed chance Ardee were still in control however finally the home side found their rhythm and they brought the game to visitors.
After a line out just inside the visitors half the ball was spread to Mulhall in the centre and when he broke through the initial tackle to race down the field and despite being caught just inside the 22, he managed to offload to Doyle who went in under posts on 38 mins which Evans converted for a 7-0 lead, this seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors and Port could have scored again but had to settle to end the half 7-0 in front.
Port started the second half the stronger and although some great try chances went a miss, learning some lessons from their opponents their shot at goal at the first chance when Evan converted from wide on the left side on 43 minutes.
The game really came to life with some heavy hits on both side and although the game could have boiled over, Referee Barry Dempsey ensured the players were aware who was in charge and although the penalty count rose on both sides, the game continued to flow.
Port continued to press for the next score and following some great running from Evans, he fed Cuddihy, who in turn found replacement Jack Walsh who broke the last couple of tackles to break through and score, although the conversion was missed Port had a commanding lead.
The visitors became more desperate but despite their best efforts effort could break down a strong Port defence and one super hit from Kyle Ryan with dislodging the ball as Ardee were on the verge of scoring summed up the efforts.
Some fine running from replacements O’Connor, Stronge and Ryan came close to scoring further tries they had to settle for further penalties on 71 and 78 minutes from Evans which pushed the home side into a 21–0 lead which would be the final scoreline.
Port are away to the Dublin Dogos with kick off at 2pm in Sydney Parade next Sunday, all support would be welcome to help the lads continue their push for honours.
PORTARLINGTON: Aaron Meagher, Fintan Murphy, Conor Houlihan, Keelan Hunt, Stephen Oakley, Rory Bracken, Mark Petriw, Joander Brazon, Paul Mannion , Kieran Hyland, Sean Higgins, Ross Doyle, Stephen Mulhall, Reece Cuddihy, Andrew Evans. Reps: Conan Uphill, Darren O’Connor, Paidi Mahon, Jack Walsh, Barry Higgins, Kyle Ryan, Dylan Stronge.
Mullingar 31 Portlaoise 24
Leinster League Division 2A
Portlaoise had to settle for a losing bonus point and a four try bonus point against table toppers Mullingar away on Sunday.
It is a result that leaves Portlaoise eight points behind Mullingar with six games to play this season.
The Laois side got off to a great start with an early try that was followed by another from Robin Foot to leave Portlaoise 12-3 ahead after 20 minutes.
Mullingar hit back with their first try but Robin Foot crossed the whitewash again to move Portlaoise 19-10 ahead with half an hour played.
However, the home team struck for two tries in the final three minutes of the half to turn the game on its head and lead 24-17 at the break.
The second half was a cagey affair with both teams exchanging penalties before Mullingar got what would prove to be the match winning try.
Portlaoise did get their fourth try right at the death to gain a second bonus point which could prove important in the end.