Clondalkin just about edged this season opener on the scoreboard but Portarlington will feel that they missed an opportunity to open their account last Sunday.
The home side started well and had plenty of possession early on and on 15 minutes a strong run from the influential Tracey Fallon caused the visitor’s defence to scramble and after a quick ruck and fast ball from scrum half Kate Tynan, captain Laura Oakley drew the last defender and timed her offload to perfection allowing winger Sandra Ramsey to cross the try line in the corner. The conversion was missed and Port led 5-0.
The game never really found any pace as four lengthy injury breaks broke up any chance of continuity as Clondalkin players suffered from some heavy hits on a hard playing surface.
This probably suited the visitors as Port dominated in possession but found it hard to build any momentum and the visitors never managed to penetrate their host’s 22.
In the second half Port continued to dominate and their set pieces were too strong for the opposition but ten minutes into the half Clondalkin picked up a lose ball in their own 22 and a good break, and kick bounced will for them and they scored under the posts and took a 7-5 lead.
More lengthy injuries to Clondalkin players further frustrated Port who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but some poor handling led to overlaps being squandered. Captain Laura Oakley was dominant at the line out and strong running from Tracey Fallon and the outstanding Promise Chapwayna kept the visitors defence under pressure.
Port were strong in the scrum too with debutant Mistyra Bama impressing but despite Clondalkin having two players in the sin bin during the final period, Port failed to convert the chances they created and ultimately ended up losing a very close and hard fought game.
In the end they will feel frustrated that this one managed to get away from them despite a strong team performance.
Portarlington coach Gordon Mathews will take solace in the fact that, although there is a lot to be worked on, his talented squad gives him a lot to work with.
If Port can bring their strengths to the fore on regular basis then this should prove to be a successful season for them.