Portarlington made it back to back wins last Sunday as they came from behind to power past Longford in a pulsating Leinster League clash at Lea Road.
The game’s first score came in the 11th minute when Port’ were penalised at a ruck and Longford took a 3-0 lead. This lead was doubled six minutes later but shortly after the home side were in front when Ross Doyle finished under the posts after a period of patient phase play in the Longford 22. Kieran Hyland added the conversion.
With 25 minutes on the clock full back Kieran Hyland was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle when chasing his own Garryowen kick. It seemed a harsh decision as he appeared to be contesting for the ball but the visitors took full advantage when they turned over a ruck and made good use of an overlap to score out wide. The extras were added and soon after the lead was extended with a well struck penalty.
Port’ then suffered a further setback when Doyle had to be replaced following a rib injury and at half time the score was 14-7 to Longford.
Portarlington had the better of the early exchanges in the second half but on 53 minutes they received another questionable sin binning when out half Millie Mulhall was penalised for a deliberate knock on although he seemed to make a genuine effort to play the ball. Despite the numerical disadvantage Port’ managed to tie the game up when their dominant pack mauled with devastating power and speed allowing the excellent Joander Brazon to score and Hyland again added the conversion.
Port’ then received their third yellow card of the game and this time they will have had no complaints as centre Armand Smit joined Mulhall in the bin for directing abusive language towards the referee.
Longford quickly punished the indiscipline with a breakaway try which was converted to again give them a seven point lead after 66 minutes. The large home crowd will have feared the worst at this point as the heavy pitch began to take its toll on the hard working Port’ pack but the never say die attitude that has been a constant characteristic of their season allowed them to turn over a Lonford scrum. Captain James Hyland reacted quickly to get the ball to his impressive winger Darran Hennesy who finished well in the corner and the 13 men found themselves only two points behind with six minutes remaining
With full numbers restored Port’ maintained the pressure and momentum and with only three minutes left on the clock captain Hyland refused a kick at goal from a penalty and instead instructed his brother to kick to the corner. From the resulting lineout his pack then formed another destructive maul and Man of the Match Diarmuid Kennedy powered over the line for the bonus point try.
A few anxious minutes still needed to be played out before the home crowd could celebrate but their team showed good discipline in defence and by the time the final whistle was blown they had thoroughly deserved their victory.