Rugby – Leinster League Division 2B
EDENDERRY showed why they are leading the way in Division 2B with a strong win away to Portarlington on Sunday. The Offaly men made it eight wins from eight as they stretched their lead at the top of the table to ten points.
The January conditions at Lea Road made for stop-start, yet evenly-matched opening fifteen minutes. But after quarter of an hour of scrums and lineouts, Edenderry opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
After some sustained pressure in the Portarlington 22, Edenderry managed to suck in the Port defence, allowing them to spread the ball wide and quickly, sending full back, Glen Thompson over for the game’s first try. Scrum half, Craig Cummins converted to make it 7-0.
Portarlington then lost their influential scrum half, Darragh Perry, who went off injured to be replaced by Jack Walsh. Five minutes later and Edenderry won a penalty from a strong scrum. Cummins made the kick and stretched his side’s lead out to ten points.
Port were forced to play the remainder of the half camped inside their own half, but did at least manage to keep the score at 10-0. There was a huge defensive effort from the back row as Jack Mallon, Warren Murray and Fintan Murphy put up some big tackle numbers.
Rory Groome was shown a yellow card in the first minute of the second half for a dangerous tackle on Portarlington winger, Ben Dooley. The tackle was high and late and Groome was probably lucky to only be off the field for ten minutes.
But even with the man disadvantage, Edenderry got over for a second try in the 48th minute. A well-worked short lineout resulted in a few controlled phases from the men in white. They moved the ball around the Portarlington 22 before Number 8, Mark Kavanagh crashed over. Cummins again converted to make it 17-0.
Then, six minutes after returning from the sin bin, Groome was shown a second yellow for yet another dangerous tackle. The ref produced a red card and the visitors were down to 14 for the final twenty minutes of the game.
Three minutes later and Portarlington got off the mark. Replacement scrum half, Walsh twice quick-tapped a penalty and at the second time of asking released Jordan Fitzpatrick who evaded three Edenderry defenders to ground the ball in the corner.
The conversion was missed but the hosts had their tails up. Adam Kelly, Eoin Worrell and Toby Neilson-Dry all made powerful runs around – and sometime through – the Edenderry defence, but the visitors held out.
There was still time for another sin bin as Paul Bergin was carded in the 75th minute for a high tackle. Edenderry finished the game with 13 men but were deserved 17-5 winners in the end.
Portarlington: Adam Kelly, Ben Dooley, Stephen Mulhall, Jordan Fitzpatrick, Eoin Worrell, Kieran Hyland, Darragh Perry, Jack Mallon, Warren Murray, Fintan Murphy, Toby Neilson-Dry, Stephen Oakley, Aaron Ryan, Conor Houlihan, Aaron Maher.
Replacements: Oisin Mooney Sherlock, Sean Mooney, Kyle Stacey, Dylan Stronge, Ross Doyle, Jack Walsh
Edenderry: Glen Thompson, Rory Groome, Nigel Higgins, Alan Murray, Alan Moore, Stephen Munnelly, Craig Cummins, Mark Kavanagh, Eoin O’Donnell, Damien Casey, Dean Holton, Paul Bergin, Peter Cooney, Conor Murphy, Adam Holt, Replacements: Wayne Walsh, Philip O’Neil, Cormac Melia, Chris McNamee, Shane Dulotherty