After a straightforward victory in round one, Portarlington travelled to Clondalkin for what would be a much stiffer test of their progress under new coach Johan Taylor.
With both sides enjoying a strong showing in last year’s Leinster League Division 1B this game would give the South African native a far better idea of what lies ahead for the Lea Road outfit.
Port played the first half with a considerable wind in their backs and despite issues with their own lineout, they managed to make that advantage pay. Leinster Junior player Ross Doyle scored a well taken try but the real talking point of the first half was an electrifying run from Portarlington Club President Padraig Maree. The centre took a pass 30 yards from the Clondalkin line, evaded three tackles with dazzling agility and then when he looked to be covered by the last man, Maree side stepped the full back and crossed over for a try that drew respectful applause from the home crowd as they acknowledged a moment of individual brilliance. At half time Portarlington led 15-6.
The second half was always going to be a tougher ask for the visitors but with their lineout continuing to cause problems in a wind that made accurate throwing almost impossible, Port struggled to find good primary possession.
This game was certainly providing a massive physical test for both sides as they prepare for the new league campaign with huge hits being made right across both defensive lines. Port worked hard to keep the Clon’ side out but with the game being played entirely in the visitors half they eventually found themselves 23-15 behind and seemingly drifting towards a fruitless afternoon.
However, they managed to regroup and just about edged it on the scoreboard from that point to leave with both losing bonus and try bonus points.
Portarlington will be pleased with their continued progress but they will also be aware of areas of their game that will need to be worked on in the coming weeks.
Strong performances again from Alex Mihajlovic, Cathal Bannon and Joander Brazon kept them in touch in this physical battle but they will look to bring a stronger all round game when they take on North Kildare in their next game at home in in front of their home support Lea Road next Sunday.