The standard of rugby being played this season in Division 1B of the Leinster League seems to have taken a big step forward when compared to last season.
The early exchanges were quite even but after ten minutes a strong break from Monkstown and a couple of missed tackles gave the visitors an early 7-0 lead. Port responded straight away with some good pressure and when Monkstown cynically prevented scrum half Paul Mannion from passing at the back of a ruck, the home fans felt that a yellow card should have been shown. The referee opted to give a penalty and just a warning and Kieran Hyland made the score 7-3 from the kicking tee.
The turning point in the game came on 23 minutes when Mannion was judged to pull down a maul that was advancing towards the try line and the referee awarded a penalty try and brandished a yellow card. Port managed to keep the visitors scoreless during the sin binning but the collisions were intense and defending would take its toll. The sides exchanged penalties before the break which left the score at 6-17.
After the break Port showed signs of tiring as some prerehersed moves failed to come off and although the home side showed resilience their opponents proved sharper and more clinical in possession scoring two tries in the first ten minutes of the second half in their only visits to their hosts’ 22.
The outstanding Cathal Bannon carried and scrummaged well and he was rewarded on 65 minutes when further Port pressure led to a yellow card for Monkstown and after a series of penalties he powered over the line from close range to score under the posts.
Hugh Emerson was immense in defence as was his second row partner Alex Mihajlovic who played despite returning from international duty with Serbia in Latvia late the previous night. The Port back row of Declan Hennessy, Mark Petriu and Joander Brazon always looked dangerous in possession but the Monkstown defence was solid throughout. The Portarlington attack will be rewarded for their endeavour in future games when they face less well organised defences. Monkstown added a fifth try before then end and the game finished 43-13 to the visitors.