Ross return to third
New Ross 34 Portarlington 19
After the disappointing result away to Railway Union the previous weekend, New Ross were again on the road on Sunday away to Portarlington and hoping to get back into third position in the Leinster League.
The match commenced in damp and dreary conditions with New Ross playing into a stiff breeze. The journey seemed to take a while to shake off as Port scored a converted try with barely five minutes on the clock.
Shortly thereafter, second row Bryan Harte was forced off with what appears to be a broken arm before Kevin Burke opened the visitors' scoring with a penalty.
Early indications were that the Ross scrum would again be dominant even though Portarlington were a much heavier pack. However, missed tackling left the home side in for their second try which they failed to convert.
This seemed to shake off the travel legs as dominance up front resulted in Kevin Browne finally breaking his senior duck when crossing after solid line-out work and a well-organised driving maul. Kevin Burke added the conversion.
Constant levels of huge pressure from Ross resulted in Port conceeding a penalty directly under the posts, and Kevin Burke duly converted to take the lead (13-12) into half-time.
Two minutes after the re-start, Kevin Burke crossed after the Ross pack resumed their total dominance up front, and he also added the extra points from the tee.
The next score again resulted from multiple phases of sustained pressure before the ball was flashed out for Eanna Burke to grab a try and give another successful kicking opportunity to brother, Kevin, 15 minutes into the half.
Working from a rock-solid platform of a dominant scrum and quick, clean ball, Kevin Burke placed a beautiful cross kick perfectly into position for Dean Prendergast to barely break stride on the wing before gathering and touching down to secure the try bonus point.
Portarlington were not finished yet, though, as they grabbed one of their own in the corner after a break out. The final score was 34-19, and results elsewhere mean that Ross are back into third position overall.
Squad: James Bryan, Shane Roche, Kevin Browne, Bryan Harte, Rory Browne, Breen Howlin, Kyle Roche, James Ryan, Barry Walsh, Kevin Burke, Michael Malone, David Crowdle, Dean Prendergast, Gary Murphy, Eanna Burke, Bartek Balserski, Holohan, Jordan O'Brien, Murphy.
Earlier in the weekend, the New Ross Under-15s had an uplifting win against Kilkenny in the South East League at Allianz Park.
Kilkenny were depleted by injuries as the game went on but this should not take away from a fine performance from the team. In a tight first-half, New Ross kept their shape and discipline in defence.
The forward unit led by captain Robert O'Brien deserves a lot of credit for this much-improved aspect of their game, with Gahan, Dempsey and Cadogan being the stand-out players for tackling and carrying, all marshalled by Mikey Handrick at the base of the scrum.
Kevin Dunleavy opened the scoring with a fine individual try, the ball being worked through slick hands across the back line.
Jack Brennan then scored with fine try. It was difficult to tell how far he ran but estimates put it between five and ten cm. That left the score 10-0 at half-time.
In the second-half Ross dominated possession as the injuries to Kilkenny took their toll. David Cirpaciu scored another try following a powerful run, breaking several tackles and dotting down in the corner.
Danny Glennon scored two top drawer individual tries, breaking from deep on both occasions and scything through the Kilkenny defence which was stretched by wingers Matthew Boland and Josh Quinn.
At times Ross played 'total rugby' with players inter-changing positions, just like the Dutch football team from the early '70s.
Hooker Jamie Brennan made lung-bursting runs along the wing, while tight head Lee Kent kicked from deep for the backs to run onto and popped up in the back line to make assists on tries.
Cathal Murphy, who carried well all game, scored under the posts after breaking through the Kilkenny defence. The scoring was completed by an Eoghan O'Dwyer try (39-0).