Rugby – U/15 Leinster Premier League
New Ross 19
IT might have been cold in Togher last Saturday but New Ross certainly turned up the heat as they gave the home side plenty to think about in a very competitive contest.
Portlaoise grew into the game and the back-row trio of Zach Maginness, Donnchadh Carroll, and captain Eanna Moynihan were instrumental in ensuring the home side continued their winning ways.
In tricky conditions with a strong cross-field breeze, New Ross settled quickly and had a sustained spell of possession and territory in the Portlaoise half. Some great tackling from second-rows Bill Rigney and Mark Ging created the opportunity for open-side Carroll to jackal the ball and relieve the pressure on the home side.
Scrum-half Paul Byrne got the ball moving from the resultant penalty and blind-side Maginness stormed up the left wing only to be pulled back for an infringement as he headed for the line. New Ross failed to find touch from the resultant penalty with left-wing Declan Iguma making a fine catch to put Portlaoise on the attack again. A number of phases later, with great hands from full-back Eoghan Kennedy and Iguma, Moynihan powered over on the left for the game’s opening score. Out-half Matt Cunningham added the extras to make it 7-0.
New Ross replied in kind straightaway. Portlaoise lost a scrum on their own 10 metre line and the away side played some great rugby to touch down on the right. With the extra added the sides were level 7-7.
As the game progressed, Portlaoise were starting to find their rhythm and a great break from tighthead Joey McGuinness set them on the attack. Quick-thinking by Carroll switched the line of attack and he had support from Moynihan and wing Dara Coffey. Moynihan cut inside and wasn’t to be stopped as he crossed the whitewash once again out on the right to make it 12-7 to Portlaoise.
The home side didn’t have long to wait for their next score. Great work by Hooker Conor Deegan and loose-head Fionn Mullen saw Portlaoise win possession at the breakdown on the New Ross 10 metre line. Strong carries by Maginness and Moynihan created the platform for outside-centre Daniel Whelan to use a combination of speed and side-steps to break the cover and score in the left corner to make it 17-7.
Back came New Ross. Some fine counter-rucking saw them secure possession just outside the Portlaoise 22 and, after some strong carries by the pack, they scored under the posts. The extras were added to reduce the gap to just three points, 17-14.
Portlaoise had the final say before halftime. A great steal by Carroll at a New Ross lineout on their 22 set up inside centre Aaron Fitzpatrick who carried to the heart of the defence before releasing Whelan who was held up just short of the line. When the ball broke clear, Maginness was on hand to kick to the goal area out on the left. He won the foot race to touch down in the corner for a 22-14 lead at halftime.
New Ross started the second half like the first and great work from the forwards saw them power over to the left of the posts despite some valiant defence by Cormac Drea and Shane Foley. With the deficit back to three points, Portlaoise found another gear. They played some great rugby with strong carries down the right wing by Fitzpatrick, Whelan, and Cormac Paige before Carroll got due reward for his hard work to drive over in the right corner to make it 27-19.
Portlaoise hit a purple patch and kept the scoreboard moving. After a great return carry by Moynihan from the re-start, Kyle Moore, in at scrum-half, kept pace in the attack and Carroll was on hand to double his account out on the right with strong support from Fionn Cuddy. Soon after, a trademark tackle by Mullen saw New Ross turnover the ball and Moynihan did the rest as he shook off a number of tackles to score on the left and complete his hat-trick. The extras were added to make it 39-19 to the home side.
Three soon became four for Moynihan as the clock ticked towards fulltime. Some great work by Nicolas Serrano in midfield allowed Maginness rocket down the right wing. New Ross were forced to concede penalty deep in their own 22 and, once again, Captain Marvel Moynihan drove over to leave it 44-25 at the final whistle.
PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Kennedy, Dara Coffey, Daniel Whelan, Aaron Fitzpatrick, Declan Iguma, Matt Cunningham, Paul Byrne, Joey McGuinness, Conor Deegan, Fionn Mullen, Bill Rigney, Cormac Ging, Zach Maginness, Donnchadh Carroll, Eanna Moynihan.
Replacements: David Allely, Darren Maher, Stephen Conroy, Ricky Lyons, Cullen Kirwan, Nicolas Serrano, Fionn Cuddy, Cormac Paige, Kyle Moore, Cormac Drea, Ethan Kelly, Cullen Kirwan, Charlie O’Dwyer