Thursday, February 02, 2023

Leinster Premier U/18 League

Portlaoise     17

Kildare Scarlets       10

FIRST game back after the Christmas break and understandably both teams struggled to brush of the rust in a stop start game held in a cold but dry Togher.

Portlaoise got the better start and with territory deep into the Scarlets half, Portlaoise forced the combined North Kildare and Clane team into conceding an early scrum on there 22. Strong, steady scrum from Portlaoise and scrum half Dylan Kelly picked the ball and created the overlap and timed his pass beautifully to the fast approaching Ciaran Culleton who was impossible to stop and gave the Midlander’s the perfect start.

You would be forgiven to think that this would be an easy task for Portlaoise but the Scarlets had other ideas. They started to get a foot hold in the game and forced Portlaoise into conceding penalties, as the errors started to mount and with 16 minutes on the clock the Scarlets struck as they had a serious of picks and drives to get over the Portlaoise try line.

Draw match now as conversion was missed and the rest of the half was an arm wrestle between the teams and no one wanted to give in. Half time called with teams deadlocked at a low scoring 5-5.

Portlaoise again started stronger but took time to break down the Scarlets defence and on the 53rd minute Mathew Coonan had to take the game by the scruff of the neck and somehow got past three men to put his team 5 ahead. Coonan converted his own try to make it 12-5 and Portlaoise took great confidence form this and started to speed the game up.

Portlaoise were hungry for more and great runs from Adam Glynn, Darragh Townsends and Aran Coiley in particular caused all sorts of problems in the Scarlets defence. It was only a matter of time before they scored and it was that man again, Ciaran Culleton who put more daylight between the teams, stretching the lead to 12 points.

It should be game, set and match but the Portlaoise legs got tired and the Scarlets could smell blood. They pulled a try back to make it 17-10 and it was going to be a nervous 5 minutes for Portlaoise to hold out. But they showed great character, and put their bodies on the line to ensure that white wash wasn’t crossed again. Final whistle went to the delight of the men in Navy.

Next game up a tougher challenge away to Clontarf

ACADEMY SQUAD: Ciaran Culleton, Mathew Coonan, Stephen Delaney, Dara Phelan, Cian Coffey, Brian Barry, James Kidd, Billy Kerry, Adam Glynn, Cathal Kenny, Killian O’Keefe, 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

Physio: Mick Comer

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