No joy for Arklow
RUGBY LEINSTER LEAGUE DIVISION 2
Arklow R.F.C. 3, Portarlington R.F.C. 30: Having beaten Wicklow R.F.C. only one week earlier by 21 points to 20, this would have given Arklow’s confidence a boost and expectations were heightened, but alas it was not to be, despite any shortage of commitment of the Arklow side.
The match started off at a great pace with both sides attacking, with Portarlington just applying the more effective pressure, in the Arklow half of the pitch. Too often wild kicking by Arklow allowed Portarlington to counter attack from deep. Portarlington were first to score with a dubious penalty from close in. Arklow now went on the offensive and were rewarded with a close in penalty, which was sent over by Shane Nalty.
From the restart Portarlington put Arklow under continuous pressure with some strong rucking and mauling which resulted in another penalty, which was converted.
This encouraged Portarlington to raise the pace and be more adventurous and from another dubious call by the referee gave them an easy penalty at the posts, which was struck well.
Arklow still were fighting hard and were unlucky not to have a try after a great break by Jonny Butterworth was stopped one metre short of the try line.
Arklow’s not finding touch allowed Portarlington to counter from deep and with Arklow backs disorganised they crossed the try line near the Arklow posts the conversion was a formality.
Half-time beckoned with still great hope that Arklow could salvage something from the match as they were giving as good as they got. The half-time score was Arklow 3, Portarlington 13.
Whatever team started best in the second-half would stand the best chance of winning this game and so it turned out, but cruelly for Arklow another wrong call allowed Portarlington a penalty from which they reacted very quickly under the guidance of a good play maker in their backline, who spotted Arklow momentary lapse of concentration and scored a try in the corner which was converted by a good kick.
Now Arklow picked up their game and kept their opponents back in their own half but could not make a telling break behind the well-marshalled Portarlington backline.
Portarlington went up the field and scored another penalty. Portarlington started to move the ball quickly from forwards to backs that were now full of confidence and straight running and were no different from their forwards in size and weight. Arklow struggled to keep them out. Constant defence is very tiring and any team that has to defend continuously will crack under the onslaught.
So it was with Arklow they tried, and struggled vainly to keep their opponents from the try line. The Arklow tackling was of the highest quality and they did not falter at any time, even though some of the Arklow backs are in their first season of rugby in Arklow.
Bravery is sometimes not enough and the bigger backs and the adrenalin of confidence saw Portarlington home with another fine try and conversion. Arklow can take some pride from their efforts as they kept fighting until the final whistle.
Next week is the last league match of this season though not the last match and is away to Ashbourne who are vying for promotion and will be a difficult fixture. It would be nice to end this league with a win.
Arklow held a 200-ticket draw for two Corporate Box tickets to the Ireland v. England match, with an overnight stay in the Green Isle Hotel, for two, was won by Michael Fitzpatrick of Arklow Shipping. Arklow Rugby Club is grateful to our sponsor Mr. Brian Brennan of the Arklow Bay Hotel for his generosity to Arklow Rugby Club in donating this very attractive prize.
Team from E. Clancy. J. Louth, (C) A. Plunkett, K. Kiernan, I. Hart, M. O’Neill, A. Louth, T. O Scanaill, C. White, S. Nalty, J. Butterworth, S. Vigors, R. McCarty, J. Furlong, D. McCarty, R. Vigors, B. Byrne, P. Doyle, E. O Scanaill.