Leinster Rugby U/18 Cup Final
PORTLAOISE U/18s were made to work all the way to get their hands on a much treasured cup, in a match that proved to be pulsating from start to finish. Tough tackling was the order of the day and Portlaoise’s ability to get over the try line on two occasions being the difference between the teams.
With Seapoint playing with the wind in the first half, they put early pressure on the Portlaoise defence where an early penalty was conceded and Seapoint slotted it over to gain a three point advantage. Hard to believe that would have been their only score in the game.
Seapoint did what they could to make best use of the elements and play the game in the Portlaoise 22. But Portlaoise were resilient and kept their line cleared time after time. They found it difficult to make ground with the wind in their faces, but with the forwards making the hard yards and great inter play from the backs, Portlaoise managed to set up a ruck on the five-metre line where captain Sean Peters drove over to get an important and impressive try.
This gave Portlaoise a 5-3 lead but the men from the Midlands wanted more. Dylan Kelly snipped from the blind side of a scrum and off loaded to the impressive Ciaran Culleton but the Seapoint defence covered quickly to force a line out. No time to take it as the half time whistle was blown.
This was a slender lead and playing with the wind it looked good for Portlaoise but Seapoint are a running team and there was no place for complacency. Portlaoise wanted that win badly and with superb combination play from Forwards and backs, Ciaran Culleton deserved his try and he was delighted to put his team 10-3 up and Matthew Coonan added 2 more points for good measure. It was all Portlaoise at this stage and more points were inevitable but Seapoint weren’t going down without a fight and Portlaoise had to rely on a penalty kick from Mathew Coonan to add further points to make the game 15-3 going into the final stages. With 12 points to the good, Portlaoise held out for that important full time whistle and celebrations all around signified how much it meant to the men from Portlaoise RFC.
Superb all round team performance for Portlaoise and every man stood up to be counted but this games man of the match goes to the silent assassin of Cian Coffey. Coffey playing out of position at second centre was one of the main reason’s Seapoint couldn’t get over the try line. Cian’s back play was flawless and worthy man of the match ward.
ACADEMY SQUAD: Ciaran Culleton, Mathew Coonan, Stephen Delaney, Dara Phelan, Cian Coffey, Brian Barry, James Kidd, Billy Kerry, Adam Glynn, Cathal Kenny, Killian O’Keeffe, Conor Raggett, Daniel Fingleton, Dylan Kelly, Evan Bergin, Evan Caffrey, Ivan Okonkwo, Jake Andrews, Jake Culbert, Jake Darcy, Jamie Baldwin, Paddy Reddin, PJ Larkin, Ross Bradley, Killian McHugh, Sean Peters, Nathan Duffy, David Duggan, Daniel Thornton, Andrew Schiller, Nathan Flanagan, Killian Bowe, Eoin Rooney, Darragh Townsend, Aran Coiley, Euan McCann, Callum Carroll, Aaron Kingston, Conor Stack, Ryan Gilligan, Jake Byrne, Robert Keane, Dylan Browne, Sean Dunne, Ryan McEvoy, Rory Costigan, Josh Grogan, Sam Browne, Robbie Murtagh,
Coaches: Roy Glynn, Mark Phelan, Owen Coonan, Paddy Bergin, Pat Duggan Richie Whelan