Portlaoise RFC 37 New Ross RFC 24
U-15 Leinster Premier League
The going was heavy in Togher on Saturday as Portlaoise and New Ross battle the elements as well as one another for a place in the league final.
Both sides displayed fine ball-handling skills in the constant rain and difficult underfoot conditions but it was the home side that made the most of their opportunities to be in front at the final whistle.
Flanker Donnchadh Carroll gave an outstanding performance in both attack and defence with the best supporting actor awards going to Eanna Moynihan and Zack Maginness.
New Ross kicked off and had a fine opening period as they put a number of attacks together with strong running up front putting pressure on the home side defence.
That all changed midway through the half as Portlaoise opened the scoring with a try in the right corner. Great work from Carroll secured possession for Portlaoise and, after a fine break by Fionn Mullen with Mark Ging in support, Kyle Moore set Maginness on his way up the wing.
He kicked into the 22 and, though New Ross regained possession, they were forced to concede a penalty after great support work from Cormac Drea and Bill Rigney. A quick tap from Moore had Maginness on his way again as he touched down for a 5-0 lead.
The home side doubled their lead almost directly from the re-start.
The front row combination of Conor Deegan and Shane Foley forced another penalty for Portlaoise and No. 8 Moynihan took control of affairs to set off on a run from his own half shaking off a number of tacklers to score to the right of the posts for a 10-0 lead.
Two tries became three shortly afterwards. Some nice interplay between out-half Matt Cunningham and full-back Fionn Cuddy had Portlaoise on the attack up the right wing and, in a free-flowing move involving centres Aaron Fitzpatrick and Daniel Whelan, Carroll put in wing Declan Iguma who used his strength to drive over in the left corner for a 15-0 lead at halftime.
Portlaoise stepped on the gas at the start of the second half with two quick-fire tries. Moynihan once again showed his worth off the base of a scrum to sprint clear down the blindside and cross the white-wash while, a few minutes later, he broke the gain line before off-loading to Maginness, who touched down on the right for a converted try to extend the lead to 27-0.
The score line didn’t reflect the work-rate of New Ross and they got just reward for some strong running from the pack to score in the left corner to make it 27-5.
Back came the home side, however, with two further tries to all but put the game beyond the reach of New Ross.
Maginness was once again on the end of a fine move involving Carroll, Paul Byrne at scrum half, Nicolas Serrano at inside centre and Cormac Paige in on the left wing, to score in the left corner before Eoghan Kennedy, in at full-back, followed his own well-judged kick to poach the ball short of the line and touch down for a 37-5 lead.
Portlaoise continued to press with a memorable run from Joey McGuinness driving the home side forward and Dara Coffey going close on the right wing.
Darragh Maher and David Allely got through an amount of defensive work when introduced as New Ross finished strongly to close the gap.
Their pack, once again, drove forward time and again in the closing stages and were rewarded for their efforts with three tries, two of which were converted, to leave it 37-24 to the home side at the final whistle.
Team: Fionn Cuddy, Zach Maginness, Daniel Whelan, Aaron Fitzpatrick, Declan Iguma, Matt Cunningham, Kyle Moore, Shane Foley, Conor Deegan, Fionn Mullen, Bill Rigney, Cormac Ging, Cormac Drea, Donnchadh Carroll, Eanna Moynihan. Replacements: David Allely, Darren Maher, Stephen Conroy, Ricky Lyons, Cullen Kirwan, Nicolas Serrano, Cormac Paige, Ethan Kelly, Cullen Kirwan, Charlie O’Dwyer, Eoghan Kennedy, Dara Coffey, Paul Byrne, Joey McGuinness, Dan Murell
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