RUGBY

Portarlington U-16 boys run in nine tries in rout of Longford

Portarlington 55, Longford 0

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Portarlington U-16 boys run in nine tries in rout of Longford

The Portarlington U-16 boys team are on course for a place in the league final.

Portarlington went into this penultimate league fixture knowing that two wins from their last two games would guarantee them a place in the league final for the second year running.

Although they had beaten Longford in the reverse fixture, they were aware of that the strong wind and poor underfoot conditions would suit their physically superior opponents.

The home side chose to play into the strong wind in the first half and they will have been hoping to keep things tight in the early stages, but when full back James Bryan cut a superb line and broke two tackles to score in the corner, Port had the early momentum.

Then some great passing in the tricky wind from half backs Daragh Perry and Nicholas Doggett allowed Glen Hassett to put his centre partner Séan Cullen into space. He showed some impressive footwork to weave his way past the cover defence, and Hassett added the conversion to give his side a 12-0 lead.

Port made life really difficult for the visitors with aggressive line speed and accurate tackling, and before half time Bryan had completed an impressive hat trick as his side pounced on Longford errors. Hassett added a try of his own and two conventions to leave the score at 31-0 at the break.

The home side continued to dominate in the second half and coaches Barry Lambkin and Kevin Hyland will be particularly happy with how their side took control at the breakdown against a big Longford pack.

Their own pack got their reward when number eight Jack Mallon scored from a powerful scrum. He was then joined on the scoresheet by fellow back rower Christian Udeze.

With 15 minutes remaining Port began to really turn on the style and some slick passing saw Cullen score his second and his sides eighth try before James Bryan ran the length of the pitch after an incredible pick up off a loose Longford pass.

It was Bryan's fourth and the man of the match, who also defended magnificently, will be proud of his performance. There were also strong showings from James Hyland, Jake Fitzpatrick, Conor Noone Sharpe and David Egan.

Port will now visit Wexford knowing that a win will see them securing a place in the Leinster League final. That will be a tough task but having beaten the south east side earlier in the season, they will approach the task with confidence.