U/15 Leinster Premier League
ON a cool and bright Sunday afternoon in Togher, Portlaoise continued their rich vein of league form to record a fine win over Tullamore. It might not have been their most fluid performance but a strong second half showing, led by captain Eanna Moynihan, was enough to get the job done.
Tullamore kicked off and set the tone for a strong opening period as they took the game to the home side. They dominated the early exchanges and were rewarded for their hard work when they were awarded a penalty just outside the Portlaoise 22. The captain pointed to the posts and the penalty was duly dispatched for an early lead.
Portlaoise started to find their way into the game with strong carries from Fionn Mullen, Daniel Whelan, Aaron Fitzpatrick, and Eanna Moynihan taking the home side deep into the opposition 22. Credit to Tullamore, they defended well and were awarded a penalty at the breakdown. However, they didn’t find touch and, after great work by Fionn Cuddy and Fitzpatrick, Portlaoise were awarded a penalty of their own. Quick-thinking by Kyle Moore got Moynihan moving and he took a great line to score under the posts. Cunningham added the extras for a 7-3 lead.
Both teams had spells of possession in the second quarter with Mark Ging and Bill Rigney getting through great work for the home side and Donnchadh Carroll sniping at the breakdown as well as getting hands on Tullamore ball to build the turnover count. The scrum was solid, winning two against the head, with Joey McGuinness and Conor Deegan directing affairs.
As the game headed towards halftime, Portlaoise doubled their tally. From a penalty on the Tullamore 22, Mullen and Zach Maginness made strong gains before Moynihan powered through a number of tackles to score his second try. The extras were added for a 14-3 lead at the break.
Portlaoise made a number of changes for the second half and it brought great energy to their play as Shane Foley, Stephen Conroy, and Cormac Drea laid down early markers with Paul Byrne conducting the orchestra from scrum-half. On the back of a great tackle by Carroll, with Daragh Maher and Dara Coffey in support, the home side were awarded a scrum just inside the Tullamore 22 and Moynihan picked off the base and drove for the line for his hat-trick and a decisive score out on the left. Cunningham converted for a 21-3 lead.
The score sparked Tullamore into action and, from a penalty on halfway, they put some great phases together up along the left wing and got due reward when they touched down to the left of the posts to leave the score 21-8.
Credit to the home side, they responded well and great work by Cullen Kirwan on the left wing set the platform for Moynihan to once again drive for the line for his fourth try. The extra were added for a 28-8 lead. Four became five shortly after for the unstoppable Moynihan following a great line-break by Nicolas Serrano at inside centre. With great support from Paul Byrne and Declan Iguma, Moynihan shortened the journey to the posts as he shook off tackles and dotted down once again. With the extras added, the score moved to 35-8.
Tullamore kept battling hard but it was the home side that had the final word. Ethan Kelly, composed at full-back all day, came into the line to create space for Maginness who seized the opportunity to fly up the left wing and cut across to score under the posts. Cunningham made it seven from seven to leave it 42-8 at the final whistle.
PORTLAOISE: Ethan Kelly, Fionn Cuddy, Daniel Whelan, Aaron Fitzpatrick, Cullen Kirwan, Matt Cunningham, Kyle Moore, Joey McGuinness, Conor Deegan, Fionn Mullen, Mark Ging, Bill Rigney, Zach Maginness, Donnchadh Carroll, Eanna Moynihan (c).
Replacements: Ricky Lyons, Darragh Maher, Cormac Drea, Declan Iguma, Eoghan Kennedy, David Allely, Paul Byrne, Shane Foley, Dara Coffey, Stephen Conroy, Charlie O’Dwyer, Cormac Paige, Nicolas Serrano