Portarlington J1s got their League campaign back on track with a bonus point with following an improved second-half performance.
Portarlington RFC 33
Clane RFC 5
The Port lads got off to a great start when centre Ross Doyle went over from close range on 7 mins which Andrew Evans converted having missed an earlier penalty chance for a 7-0 lead.
The visitors continued to press for another score but a combination of strong defence and handing issues maybe forcing one or two passes prevented a further score. An another missed penalty on 27 minutes seemed to spur the home side into their best period of play and they put together some useful phases with both their back row, especially their No 8 and centres to the fore.
This pressure may have turned into some points was it not for the intervention of some strong defence from the Port front five which allowed the back row of Mooney, Brazon and especially Bracken to get the turnover at some critical points. Despite the best efforts of both sides to run with the ball, there was no further scores in the first half.
The second half started at a frantic pace with Doyle’s strong running causing problems and with Kieran Hyland directing nicely from out-half with some very intelligent kicking. The home side also put in some use full kicks which Evans at full-back dealt with superbly with some great clearing kicks but also found support from Cuddihy and Doggett in the backfield.
The first score came on 45 minutes when, following a kick by Hyland into the Clane 22, Brazon managed to get up and steal the lineout, up stepped Bracken to take the ball at pace and he crashed through to score just to the left of the Posts. Evans followed up with the conversion.
Clane were not about to roll over and following some scrum dominance they pushed Port off the ball and when the ball was put through the hands the winger crashed through a couple of tacklers to score in the left corner. The conversion was missed, but with 50 mins gone the game was in the balance at 5-14.
Again following a super kick by Hyland, Clane found themselves on the back foot in their own 22, when the ball was turned over and shipped to the right-hand side, Evans was fed and he sped over, he converted his own try for a 5-21 lead.
The next score came again following a booming kick from Bracken with the resultant Clane lineout turned over and following a series of phases, Brazon managed to brush a side of a couple of would-be tacklers to go over for the bonus point score which Evan again converted.
Port continued to press for further score with replacement Mulhall with some strong direct running, Glen Hassett was having a fine day starting his first game at scrum-half and his speed around the rucks was telling and eventually the pressure told with replacement Barry Higgins going in at the left corner for the final score of the game.
It was an impressive performance from Portarlington with a much-changed team from the previous week with so many of the younger players to the front, especially the front row of Meagher, Murphy and Houlihan and Hassett, Bracken and Mooney in the back row and Cuddihy and Evans in the backline.
Team: Aaron Meagher, Fintan Murphy, Conor Houlihan, Keelan Hunt, Stephen Oakley, Rory Bracken, Sean Mooney, Joander Brazon, Glen Hassett, Kieran Hyland, Sean Higgins, Ross Doyle, Reece Cuddihy, Simon Doggett, Andrew Evans. Replacements: Andrew Wilkinson, Paidi Mahon, Dylan Strong, Barry Higgins, Stephen Mulhall, Anavil Story