ON a cold, snowy Sunday Dundalk U-17s returned to winning ways with a comprehensive victory over Portarlington.
Coaches Dave Fearon and Shane McEneaney welcomed back several players including Paddy Geoghegan and Glen Shields and along with Ciaran Lennon, Conor Lenehan and Dylan Quigley, they ensured that Dundalk delivered their best performance for some time.
Portarlington started strong and but for some good tackling by Ciaran Lennon and Conor 'Lenny' Lenehan they would have opened the scoring. With several players only recently rejoining the team Dundalk were a bit slow to gel, but in the 17th minute they took the lead when Ciaran Lennon took advantage of a poor Portarlington scrum to cross the line from 10 yards out.
Paddy Geoghegan converted to leave Dundalk leading 7-0 and in the 24th minute they scored again when Tom Gardiner bravely blocked an attempted clearance by Portarlington's outhalf. Barney McElroy was the quickest to react and grounded the ball under the posts to make it 12-0. Paddy Geoghegan added the conversion to leave it 14-0 at half time.
Dundalk started the second half well in control but the match became nasty with a few incidents prompting the referee to stop proceedings. With about 15 minutes of the second half gone, man of the match, Geoghegan broke brilliantly from the half way line, after some good work by the forwards, and scored in the corner to leave it 19-0.
The try hero went off injured as a result and Portarlington tried hard to get back into the game but some great defending by Tadhg McElroy, Conor Quigley, Alex Cahill and Stephen McGivern kept them out.
The pack ensured that Dundalk kept control of the game in the last 15 minutes with Shane 'Banjo' Callan, Evan Quigley, Glen Shields and Tadhg McElroy making sure that Dundalk were not intimated by a strong Portarlington pack. DUNDALK: Conor Quigley, Tadgh McElroy, Shane Callan, Dylan Quigley, Evan Quigley, Glenn Shields, Ciaran Lennon, Stephen McGivern, Ronan O'Reilly, Paddy Geoghegan, Alex Cahill, Conor Lenehan, Barney McElroy, Aaron Quinn, Stephen Arrowsmith. Subs: Stephen Bellew, Tom Gardiner, Niall Malone, Andrea Alonso.