Home Sport Rugby North Midlands U-15 Area League glory for brilliant Portlaoise Rugby side

North Midlands U-15 Area League glory for brilliant Portlaoise Rugby side

Portlaoise RFC U/15 team which claimed the North Midland's League title with the defeat of Naas

Naas 7 Portlaoise 40
U-15 North Midlands Area League Final

On a perfect night for rugby under the floodlights in Naas, Portlaoise U-15s beat Naas in the final of the North Midlands Area League.

Portlaoise started brightly with great energy, enthusiasm and commitment on show and the first score of the day came after six minutes from a Portlaoise set piece move.

From a solid scrum just outside the Naas 22, a nice interchange between half-backs Kyle Moore and Matt Cunningham allowed Eanna Moynihan hit the line at pace, collecting the ball and breaking through the Naas defence to score to the right of the posts. Cunningham converted to make it 7-0.

The next 15 minutes was a very even contest with both sides testing each other’s defence.

Portlaoise’s tackling on the night was textbook, with some big defensive hits from forwards Foley, Rigney, Drea, and Carroll as well as the back three of Magennis, Kirwan, and Kennedy.

This defensive effort set the platform for the next Portlaoise score when, after a great tackle by Mullen, Moynihan won the turnover.

From the resulting penalty, Portlaoise implemented one of their signature attacking moves and, after a strong carry by Mullen, Moore fed prop Joey McGuinness who powered over the line for a brilliant try. Cunningham added the extras to lead 14-0.

Naas responded quickly however and were next to cross the whitewash. After a flowing move and some brave Portlaoise defence, Naas eventually found an overlap out wide to bring the score back to 14-7 with less than a minute to go to halftime.

Portlaoise used the short time remaining to great effect however. The kick off from Cunningham caused the Naas defence all kinds of problems.

Great follow-up work from Daniel Whelan enabled him to collect the ball and run clear to score in the corner. Cunningham nailed a superb conversion to make it 21-7 at the break.

Portlaoise started the second half brightly and following a Moynihan turnover in the Naas 22, Portlaoise were awarded a penalty. After strong carries from Moynihan and Mullen, Carroll fed Maginness who raced clear to make it 26-7.

Portlaoise were now in full flight and from the resulting Naas kick-off, Cormac Drea collected and carried strongly. Naas looked to execute a turnover but a superb clear-out by Bill Rigney, enabled Moore to feed Moynihan who broke the line and offloaded to Cunningham to sprint two thirds of the field, scoring under the posts. The conversion was added and the score was now 33-7.

Portlaoise were in no mood to rest on their laurels and after a superb turnover by hooker Conor Deegan, the backline spread it wide to Moynihan who straightened the line before off-loading to winger Maginness to use his pace and strength to beat the covering Naas defence and score the final try of the match. Cunningham converted again, on a night of textbook kicking by the out-half, to make it 40-7.

Naas rallied strongly for the remainder of the game, showing great character and team spirit. However, with the addition of Alley, Lyons, Conroy, Coffey, Cuddy, Paige and Kelly to the Portlaoise team, they defended strongly and managed the game to the final whistle without any further scores.

Portlaoise were worthy winners of the final on the night which was testament to the depth and strength of the Portlaoise squad and coaching team.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Matt Cunningham (one try, five conversions), Zach Maginness (two tries), Eanna Moynihan, Joey McGuinness and Daniel Whelan (one try each).

PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Kennedy, Cullan Kirwan, Daniel Whelan, Aaron Fitzpatrick, Zach Maginness, Matt Cunningham, Kyle Moore, Shane Foley, Conor Deegan, Fionn Mullen, Bill Rigney, Darragh Maher, Cormac Drea, Donnchadh Carroll, Eanna Moynihan (c). Replacements: Ricky Lyons, David Allely, Joey McGuinness, Charlie O’Dwyer, Stephen Conroy, Mark Ging, Darragh Coffey, Paul Byrne, Nicolas Serrano, Ethan Kelly, Fionn Cuddy, Cormac Paige, Declan Iguma

SEE ALSO – Catch up with all our sports coverage here 

Previous articleIn Pictures: A selection of Paul Dargan images as the Dubs come to town
Next articleLong overlooked Mountmellick Road in Portlaoise on course to get its roundabouts at last