Home Sport Rugby Defeat for Portlaoise Rugby teams to Kildare opposition in weekend encounters

Defeat for Portlaoise Rugby teams to Kildare opposition in weekend encounters

Portlaoise Rugby
Stephanie Gleeson picked up the Portlaoise Player of the Match award for her display against Naas on Friday Photo: Denis Byrne

Portlaoise 10 Coolmine 17
Leinster League Division 2A Round 3

Portlaoise’s trip to the Showgrounds in Athy on Sunday proved to be a very frustrating outing. So much of their game was top class but some silly decision and equally silly penalties were to cost them dearly.

Portlaoise started well and finished well but in between the seemed to lack any fluidity and composure.

They got the better start and Jack Reddin gave them the lead ten minutes in after Athy were penalised for holding on.

Portlaoise were making good use of the wind which was in their backs. They pinned back Athy with some excellent kicks and were completely on top at this stage.

However, their momentum was interrupted when the referee stopped play after two players clashed heads. This afforded Athy the opportunity to compose themselves and get back into the game.

The game restarted with a scrum to Athy on their own 22. The won the scrum and quickly moved the ball across the backs and race the length of the pitch for a try which they converted.

The home side now began to dominate as the Portlaoise play became disjointed and scrappy. Athy were piling on the pressure and from a five metre scrum they slipped around the corner to score in the corner.

Portlaoise then won a few penalties and from one Jack Reddin found a seriously good touch close to the Athy line.

Portlaoise won the line out and mauled towards the line only to be stopped short. They continued to pick and drive and were rewarded when Eoin Brennan went over in the corner, a score that left Athy leading 14-10 at half time.

It was all to play for in the second half but it was Athy who were now making good use of the elements. They controlled the third quarter pinning Portlaoise back.

Portlaoise were also suffering because too many stupid penalties were being conceded. From one of these penalties in the 55th minute Athy increased their lead to seven points.

But as in recent games Portlaoise got their act together somewhat in the fourth quarter. Their forwards began to dominate and use the pick and go tactic were putting huge pressure on the Athy defence.

Portlaoise were desperately unlucky not to score during this period. Flanker Eoin Keenan was stopped just short of the line while Mark Sherlock was held up having gotten over the line.
Unfortunately, despite this strong finish they did not add to their tall as Athy held out.

Their next outing will be at home to Balbriggan next Sunday.

PORTLAOISE: Tommy Martin; Philip O’Brien, Sean Mullin, Simon Williams, Iain Corrigan; Niall Keenan, Jack Reddin; Cameron Stewart, Ryan McEvoy, Shane Reilly; Michael Rigney, Eoghan Brennan; Eoin Keenan, Mark Sherlock, Ross Cooper.
Replacements: Eanna Delaney, Kevin Lynch, Jason Holohan, Tadgh Mullins, Martin Phelan

Portlaoise 10 Garda 19
Leinster Women’s League Division 3

On Friday night last, a depleted Portlaoise women’s team, short 10 players from their squad through illness and injury, travelled to Naas to continue their quest for the Leinster League Division 3 title in a rain soaked Forenaughts.

Short of numbers and with many girls playing out of position the Portlaoise women, although ultimately defeated, gave a good account of themselves with a display full of grit, spirit and determination.

Portlaoise got the dream start when, from the kick off, they went straight on the attack and established a foothold in the Naas 22. They then won a lineout which was driven forward powerfully.

After several more forward drives the ball was moved out the backline to centre Lyn O’Callaghan.

Under pressure she put a clever grubber kick through which the Naas defence were unable to deal with.

Trapping Naas on their line the Portlaoise pack turned the screw and when the ball went loose in the in-goal area flanker Alyson Holmes, on her return from injury, showed all her experience to touch down for the game’s opening try after only seven minutes of play.

From the restart Naas began to show their class as their back line defied the very wet conditions to put the ball through the hands with ease and only desperate Portlaoise defence kept them at bay.

However Naas were the more experienced team and this showed with the tactics they elected to employ to exploit the conditions as the weather worsened.

They started to rain high kicks down on the Portlaoise wings isolating them and exploiting any mistakes made with the greasy ball.

The Naas back three possessed great pace and they took advantage of any error Portlaoise made as they struggled to deal with the Naas kicking game.

The visitors conceded two tries to the home side in 20 minutes leaving the score 14-5 in favour of Naas at half time.

The second half developed into more of an arm wrestle as Portlaoise sought to use their dominant pack to deny the Naas back line possession or space to play in.

The game ebbed and flowed as the conditions deteriorated and 15 minutes into the second half the Naas backs broke free and scored a third try.

From the restart Naas threw everything they had at Portlaoise in an effort to kill the game and to score the bonus point try but the Portlaoise girls refused to concede again.

The visitors backs tackled everything that moved and gradually their pack again started to exert some pressure on Naas.

With 10 minutes of play left Portlaoise won a penalty near halfway which skipper Amy O’Callaghan took quickly and instigated a flowing attack down the left wing with forwards and backs supporting each other.

Naas eventually stopped the attack but conceded a lineout five metres from their try line. Try as hard as the Naas defence did, the Portlaoise girls were not to be denied a second try.

After eight minutes of sustained Aly Holmes crashed over for her second try on the night.

On a night for the forwards the Portlaoise pack were outstanding with hooker Stephanie Gleeson picking up the coveted award of Portlaoise Player of the Match.

Sisters Rosie and Yvonne Palmer united with Steph to form a really dominant front row. Catherine Delaney and Aoibheann Egan in the engine room worked hard in loose play and in the set piece while the back row of Emma Smith, Abbie Hearns and Aly Holmes exerted real pressure on Naas right across the pitch and at the breakdown.

Half backs Sandy Keegan and Amy O’Callaghan worked tirelessly to manage their team around the field but the difficult conditions and terrier like tackling from Naas made that next to impossible to achieve.

The Naas tactics meant the Portlaoise backline spent much of the game on the back foot trying to deal with a greasy ball but they worked hard, supported each other and made Naas fight for anything that they got.

A special mention for Keeva Hearns playing in the centre for the first time and at very short notice and to the two new girls, Nicola Rowlands and Charmaine Gardinier, coming on and getting their first real taste of competitive action.

Next up New Ross on Sunday 14 November in Portlaoise

PORTLAOISE: Haley Fitzgibbon; Rachel Palmer, Keeva Hearns, Lyn O’Callaghan, Jenny Keegan; Amy O’Callaghan, Sandy Keegan; Yvonne Palmer, Steph Gleeson, Rosie Palmer; Catherine Delaney, Aoibheann Egan, Emma Smith, Aly Holmes, Abbie Hearns
Replacements: Nicola Rowlands, Charmaine Gardinier

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