Portarlington girls lose out to local rivals

It was a bruising encounter

Express Reporter

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Portarlington girls lose out to local rivals

Portarlington girls lose out to local rivals

Portarlington RFC 5 – Cill Dara RFC 34

Portarlington’s U16 girls team took on their Cill Dara counterparts in the Leinster League last Saturday and although the home side showed some determined resilience at times, it was the visitors’ impressive use of space and superior handling skills that overcame that defensive bravery.

Cill Dara took the game to their hosts from the very first whistle and their first visit into the Port twenty two yielded the games opening score. The Kildare side went through multiple phases to get within striking distance and when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts Ellie O Brien wasted no time taking it quickly and carrying impressively before Mairead Scully got quick ball to Ciara Fennelly who took advantage of space on the outside to score in the corner.

Cill Dara continued to pile on the pressure but some aggressive defending from Rebecca Boyhan and good clearance kicking from Rebecca Foley denied the visitors any further scoring chances until the sixteenth minute when another big carry from Ellie O Brien forced Portarlington’s defence into scramble mode. The ball was then moved wide thanks to good clean handling to Eadaoin Murtagh who looked to be covered but a couple of missed tackles allowed her to score out wide and the lead was extended to 0-10.

Port had chances of their own but dropped passes prevented them from turning possession into points and on the twenty minute mark a loose pass was pounced on by Cill Dara’s Mia Whelan and again the visitors showed good ability to move the ball through hands and when Eadaoin Murtagh received the final pass in space she showed good pace to evade the Portarlington cover defence as she sprinted fifty metres to score.

Only minutes later it looked as though Cill Dara would be in for another score but an excellent cover tackle from Grainne Cotter saved the day. The Port girls’ heads never dropped and this tackle seemed to spur them on as they fought hard to get back into the game only for further handling errors to deny them any reward. And ultimately it was the difference in the two side’s ability to complete passing moves towards available space that proved the difference and when Cill Dara’s Mairead Scully made a sniping break from the back of a ruck to feed Murtagh with a crisp pass, the pacey winger was in for her hat trick try on the stroke of half time leaving the scoreboard reading 0-20 at the break.

When the second half resumed Portarlington showed a really impressive fighting spirit as they seemed determined to ignore the score line and reverse the game’s momentum. Through the very impressive Rebecca Boyhan, Rebecca Foley and Gráinne Cotter, Portarlington carried the ball into contact with real conviction and this began to push Cill Dara into a less comfortable defensive mode.

There can be no questioning this groups willingness to fight for the hard yards and although further handling errors frustrated their efforts they never stopped trying and eventually that spirit was rewarded when Rebecca Boyhan got a well deserved try late on but when the home side’s defence became tired Cill Dara ran in a couple of late scores of their own to leave the final score at 5-34.

Portarlington: Therese McAlorum, Shannon Donagher, Ella Mohan, Evelina Puidokaite, Danielle Whelehan, Rebecca Foley, Doireann McGarry, Shauna Connelly, Gráinne Cotter, Rebecca Boyhan, Sarah Dunne, Maria Coffey, Ava Corcoran, Aaliyah Facey, Katelynn Doyle.

Cill Dara: Ellen McKeown, Aoife Sloan, Alice Cross, Kerri Nolan, Lauren Ryan, Mia Whelan, Ellie O Brien, Ines Kemmy, Mairead Scully, Ava Gleeson, Eadaoin Murtagh, Aoife Mulcahy, Clodagh Burke, Evie Dickson, Ciara Fennelly, Molly O Keefe, Megan McDonnell, Mary Millot, Kate O Loughlin.

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