06 Jul 2022

Portlaoise RFC stung with last gasp try as Newbridge complete sensational comeback

Portlaoise RFC stung with last gasp try as Newbridge complete sensational comeback

Leading 30-10 with just 14 minutes left on the clock in Togher on Sunday, Portlaoise looked well on the way to securing a crucial win in their battle to retain their Division 2A status for another season.

Certainly no one associated with Portlaoise were taking victory as a given but few could have imagined that they would cough up three converted tries and lose the game by a sickening single point.

This was a game that Portlaoise could have won. Their forwards generally dominated their Newbridge counterparts but it was across the back like that was the difference. The visitors three-quarters looked very dangerous when given space, and unfortunately Portlaoise gave them too much of that.

Too often kicks failed to find touch and with no great chase, Newbridge made hay. Playing with a very strong wind which blew straight down the field Portlaoise opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a Jack Reddin penalty. But within six minutes Newbridge had hot the front when winger Zach Meehan latched on to a pass from Robbie Waters and ran from near the halfway line to score a try.

Again, Waters picked up a loose kick and ran back at Portlaoise for a good try in the 17th minute. After their slow start, a trait they have exhibited this year, Portlaoise began to grow into the game and added a second penalty from Reddin the 24th minute.

This was followed by a try. From a ruck in the middle of the field Jack Reddin broke on the blind-side and fed centre Kevin Griffin. He moved the ball to Ross Cooper who broke two tackles before slipping the ball to Killian O'Connor and his pass to Dara Ramsbottom saw the winger go in for the try. Reddin added the extras.

The home side were now flying high and added a second try in the 38th minute. This time it came from a break made by O'Connor who moved the ball to Cooper who kicked ahead and won the race for the touch down to leave the half time score at 18-10 in favour of Portlaoise.

Portlaoise continued to dominate in the tight on the restart and it was this pressure that led to their third try. Newbridge conceded a penalty and Portlaoise kicked to the corner. Mark Sherlock won the short line out and after a few pick and drives Cooper crashed over for his second try bringing their lead out to 13 points, and that soon became 20.

Newbridge were doing a lot of the attacking but the side were defending stoutly and when Newbridge fumbled the ball deep inside Portlaoise territory Killian O'Connor gathered and raced the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Reddin again converted and now the home side were ahead 30-10 with 64 minutes on the clock.

Credit to Newbridge they never gave up the chase. As Portlaoise began to tire it Zach Meehan scored a try in the 66th minute which was converted by Waters. Three minutes he was in again for a try after a series of good pressure periods from the Newbridge pack and again Waters converted.

Now the gap was down to just six points but time was now running out for Newbridge. Portlaoise harried and hassled as the legs tired and the looked like they would hold out but with 84 minutes on the clock Newbridge full-back Donal Cashman was afforded too much room and in for a try.

The visitors still needed the conversion to win and Waters slotted it and barely had the ball gone between the sticks than the referee blew the final whistle.

PORTLAOISE: Jack Reddin; Dara Ramsbottom, Kevin Griffin, Sean Mullin, Killian O'Connor; Niall Keenan, Joe O'Toole; Eanna Delaney, Ryan McEvoy, Cameron Stewart; Mark Sherlock, Eoghan Brennan; Peter Coss, Eoin Keenan, Ross Cooper. Replacements: Brian Flannery, Brian Dunne, Tadgh Mullin, Chris Cahill, Robert Brown, Robert Laffan, Jay Buggy.

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