Newbridge 36 – Portlaoise 0
Newbridge got their season underway with a promising win against Portlaoise away, scoring six tries in total.
Alfie Thompson opened the scoring after a well-worked lineout maul fifteen minutes after kick-off. The Newbridge pack showing good organisation and patience to take the ball over the line after a second shove. Donal Cashman added the extras after a tricky touchline conversion.
Immediately after the restart, Portlaoise used the conditions well to force the play deep into Newbridge territory. After regaining possession on the Newbridge twenty-two, the hosts won a penalty just to the right of the posts. However, the kick was pulled across the posts, and the deficit remained untouched.
The pressure remained on Newbridge after the drop-out with Portlaoise dominating territory. The hosts were unable to capitalise though, giving up possession through their set piece as well as open play errors.
With the final play of the half, Newbridge launched a strike play from a scrum just inside their own half. They utilised each member of the backline to hold the Portlaoise defence, before spreading the ball to Adam Larkin-Smithers and Gavin Houlihan, who took the ball deep into Portlaoise territory.
Two phases later Donal Cashman ran under the posts unopposed as Newbridge reorganised well, catching Portlaoise narrow after the scramble.
Newbridge found themselves under pressure immediately after the restart, giving away a scrum inside their twenty-two.
Portlaoise looked to attack, spreading the ball wide. However, a good rush defence from Newbridge forced an error and Gavin Houlihan pounced, intercepting a pass and racing the length of the field to score. Cashman was successful with another difficult conversion.
Newbridge then began to dominate territory and their third try followed soon after. The visitors opted for a quick-tap penalty inside the Portlaoise twenty-two, sucking the defence in before Alfie Thompson crashed over for his second try of the day with Cashman adding the extras.
At this point in the match, frequent Portlaoise infringements and errors offered Newbridge ample opportunity. Following a lengthy spell in the Portlaoise half, a further score was added by Jamie Morgan after another quick-tap penalty.
Newbridge got their sixth try with the final play of the match. Karmon Fitzgerald pouncing on a Portlaoise knock-on, hacking the ball through, then chasing up and touching the ball down himself.
Best for Newbridge on the day were Alfie Thompson, Donal Cashman, and Adam Larkin-Smithers who impressed on debut having received his Leaving Cert results the day before.