Portarlington RFC’s first team ended their season on a real high when they added the Provincial Towns Plate to their Hosie Cup and Division 2 Cup successes earlier in the year, after a very tough game played in Mullingar against Longford on Sunday last.
Portarlington RFC 13
Longford RFC 6
In atrocious conditions Port were always looking to play rugby and after a poor opening ten minutes, began to really come into the game after Longford had taken the lead from an early penalty, awarded for offside. For the remainder of the half Portarlington piled on the pressure with some great attacking rugby by the backs.
Full back David Murphy was pinning Longford into there 22 and this was to lead to Port’s only try when, from three or four phases, the ball was moved through the hands and once fed out to captain and winger Ross Doyle, there was only going to be one outcome, and he squeezed into the corner for a great team try. Murphy added the conversion with a great kick from the sideline to leave port 7-3 up.
That was to be Doyle’s last action of the day as he went off injured and he was replaced by Padraig Maree. Port continued their dominance and the forwards were beginning to win the battle up front, where flanker Joander Brazon, No 8 Mark Petriw and scrum half Paul Mannion were turning over a lot of Longford ball. The pressure finally told and Longford were guilty of going off their feet, and a penalty was awarded in front of there post. Murphy duly obliged with the kick to leave the half time score 10-3.
Rugby in the second half deteriorated as the rain began to pour down and the pitch became more like a mud bath than anything else, with players finding it hard to keep their footing. Portarlington will be delighted with their defence from the start of the second half right through to the final whistle, when Millie Mulhall was harshly sinned bin with 16 minutes gone.
Port began to up their performance and went ten points ahead when Longford were penalised for pulling down a maul on their 5 meter line, from the resulting penalty Murphy made no mistake. The last 20 minutes was all about keeping possession and Port did this very well and kept Longford living off scraps. The final few minutes summed up Port’s season, when time and again as Longford looked for the try, they were held out with some absolutely brillant defending from one to 15.
They denied Longford the try and the chance of a conversion to bring the game into extra time, thus turning over the ball and clearing their lines only for the referee to blow the full time whistle and bring the curtain down on a hugely successful season, where Port have picked up three of the four cups available to them.
Also a word must be mentioned for club president Breda Oakley, who also bows out on a high after two successful years at the helm, and it’s a season Breda wont forget in a hurry. Player coach for the year, Massey Tunaks and manager Darren Bracken will be very pleased with their first season in charge, and can look forward to next season with a lot of confidence after a season where the had only two defeats, one in the league and one in the Towns Cup.
Port Rugby Club are on a high right now after their most successful season was added to by having their most successful dinner dance last week in the club house, and then hosting a very successful Towns Cup final on Sunday week last.
PORTARLINGTON: David Murphy, Ronan Mannion, Millie Mulhall, Massey Tunaks, Ross Doyle (Padraig Maree), Kieran Hyland, Paul Mannion (Simon Powell), Mark Petriw, Joander Brazon, Paddy Hyland, Stephen Oakley (Alex Serbia), Hugh Emerson, Andy Wilkinson, Colin Dowling (Declan Hennessy), Sean Kiely. Not used: James Hyland, Bob Ronaldson.