Carlow 29 Portarlington 0
By John Shirley
After tasting defeat in their first Leinster League match last week, Carlow bounced back on Sunday with a bonus point 29-0 win against Portarlington at Oakpark.
In ideal conditions for rugby Carlow dominated territory in the first half but only had an unconverted try in their locker by the interval.
This came after Carlow had lost their own lineout in the corner but Portarlington failed to clear. Carlow got turnover ball, Wes Shirley made the drive to the line, recycled to Niall Bermingham who beat a couple of defenders to score.
Bermingham scored again six minutes into the second half following surges from front rowers Larry McGrath and Conal Slater. This time he dotted down under the post and Peter Hennessey converted to put Carlow 12 nil ahead. This was extended to 15-0 four minutes later with a Hennessey penalty close to the post.
Ten minutes into the second half Coach Padraig Brennan called on subs James Nolan, Alan Byrne and Gavin Murphy.
Port had a period of ascendancy but Carlow held them out with the Henesseys, Burke, Ratahi and Shirley putting in important tackles. Carlow’s backs looked lively with ball in hand and following good work by Wes Shirley the ball was passed to strong running winger Seamus Curran who scored mid way between posts and touchline. Hennessey converted.
Carlow were now 22 – 0 ahead and the hunt was on for the fourth try and bonus point. Again in was Curran who provided the spark collecting the ball from his own 22 he sliced through the centre making 50 metres. Ratahi was on hand to run in the final 20 metres and touchdown under the posts.
After two games this bonus point win shunts Carlow to 3rd in the table behind Edenderry and Cill Dara. The other bonus for the supporters comes with the attractive rugby the young team is playing this season. The teams have a break next week and travel to Railway Union in Dublin on the following week.
Peter Hennessey, Seamus Curran, Fionan Burke, Simon Walshe, Adam Dowling, Harry Hennessey, Alex Crossley, Larry McGrath, Conal Slater, John Lyons, Thomas Whitney, Wes Shirley, Niall Bermingham, Chris Challe, Thomas Ratahi (capt).
Subs, James Nolan, Alan Byrne, Gavin Murphy (all on at 50 mins).
Carlow J2’s made it a double over Portarlington winning 18 – 13 at Oakpark. All Carlow’s scoring came in the first half with tries from centre Jack Hickie (2) and full back Ian Atkinson plus a penalty by Zac Fitzhenry. Portarlington replied with a single penalty.
In a fractious second half the heavier Port pack often threatened but Carlow held them to a penalty plus a converted try. Keating, Corcoran, Carpenter Williams, Hickie and Atkinson played well for Carlow while captain Tom Bolger kicked intelligently for territory and brought off one try saving tackle in the first half.
Ian Atkinson, Lir McDonald, Peter Cassidy, Jack Hickie, Niall O Malley, Tom Bolger (capt), Nigel Smyth, Mark Slye, Evan Gordon, Ed Keating, Zac Fitzhenry, Neil Slater, Rudi Corcoran, Daniel Carpenter Williams, Martin Mullins
Subs. Mark Dooley, Dylan Keogh, Ed Keating, Aidan Cunningham.