Portarlington put the disappointment of the relegation playoff defeat to Carlow behind them as they overcame Division 1A side Clondalkin in the Towns Plate quarter final last Sunday at Lea Road.
The game started well for Port’ when out half Millie Mulhall kicked to the corner and from the resulting lineout influential back rower Mark Petriu recovered his own block to score under the posts. When Kieran Hyland added the conversion the home side led 7-0.
After ten minutes Clondalkin received a further blow when they were reduced to fourteen men after a dangerous tip tackle. However, the visitors responded well and a cross field kick bounced favourably for them and they capitalised well to tie the scores up. Shortly afterwards they took the lead when Port were penalised for offside within kicking range.
A series of handling errors saw the game become broken up with scrums but Port’ levelled things up with a penalty of their own after 23 minutes. However, the visitors didn’t take long to retake the lead as they won a penalty for hands in the ruck and at half time the score was 10-13 to Clondalkin and Portarlington entered the break a man down with Petriu being sent to the sin bin.
After the break both sides had phases of dominance and on 48 minutes Clondalkin were first to a lose ball and they capitalised on some space to score under the posts and stretch their lead to 10 points. Port showed their characteristic resilience and refused to allow the game to get away from them as five minutes later the outstanding Ross Doyle powered over the line to get his side back to within a score of the lead.
With only five minutes remaining on the clock the game took a final twist in favour of the Laois side as powerful number 8 Diarmuid Kennedy scored the pick of the games tries bursting through the Clondalkin defence and scoring under the posts. Hyland slotted the extras and Port’ took a 22-20 lead.
The home side showed impressive focus and determination as they controlled the final phases and when they were awarded a penalty after the last play, Mulhall kicked to touch and the full time whistle was greeted by celebration from the large Port’ crowd and their team.