By Denis J. Croke
PORTLAOISE RFC had four players involved with the North Midlands team which defeated the unbeaten North East 40-19 in round four of the Bank of Ireland U/17 Shane Horgan Cup at Energia Park on Tuesday.
PJ Larkin started on the right wing with Jake Darcy and Dylan Kelly forming a very formidable half-back partnership while Jake Andrews was among the replacements.
The North East took an early lead but they were unable to protect their advantage when NM winger Larkin smartly picked off an interception for James Harris’s conversion to level it up.
Next, Darcy was alert enough to snatch possession inside his own 22 and NM were soon on the attack where Darcy shot through a hole for a fine try, converted by Harris for 14-7 in the 17th minute.
From there to the end the North Midlands were never really threatened with the Portlaoise lads playing a significant part in the win.
North Midlands: J Harris try, 5 cons; J Darcy, PJ Larkin, D O’Keefe, E Clarke, J Kelly one try each
NORTH MIDLANDS: James Harris (Athy); PJ Larkin (Portlaoise), Dylan O’Keefe (Newbridge), Lochlann Cawley (Naas), Ola McCullough (Cill Dara); Jake Darcy, Dylan Kelly (both Portlaoise); Oisin Bannon (Cill Dara), Dylan O’Sullivan (Clondalkin), Scott O’Keefe (Newbridge); Nathan Yap (Clane), Eanna Duffy (Naas); David Moore (North Kildare), Eoin Clarke (Cille Dara), Jude Kehoe (Naas).
Replacements – (Portlaoise), Jack Kelly (Clane), Sean Walshe (North Kildare), Max Gaynor (Newbridge), John Murray (Naas), Samual Ryan (Cill Dara), Tom Dunne (Cill Dara), James Corcoran (Athy), Darragh Farrell (Athy)