Foyle College 0
Portora opened its Medallion Shield (U-15) campaign at home to Foyle College last Thursday.
Illness forced a late change, with Dylan Johnston moving to hooker and Jack Rutledge playing at wing-forward. The Enniskillen outfit faced a considerably stronger Foyle squad than the injury depleted one they had vanquished earlier in the season. The opening period was very competitive and Portora played with a slight wind advantage towards the Castle end of the ground.
Reece Smytton controlled the game well from out-half and kicked Portora into good field positions. Jack Rutledge then got on the end of series of forward drives to force his way over on the right and open the scoring after ten minutes.
Rutledge touched down again shortly afterwards. Adam Boles, who had a great game, came off the left wing to loop Johnny Irvine on the opposite flank. He took play deep into the Foyle 22 but was tackled short of the line. Haire moved the ball from the ruck and Keys fed Rutledge to crash over.
This settled the home side and they scored twice more before half-time. First, James Balfour hit up in the centre, Keys secured a quick ruck and Haire found Smytton on the blind side for him to score in the left corner.
Jack Moore then scored from a typically powerful drive near the posts.
Smytton had converted two of the tries and Portora led 24-0 at half time.
Foyle started the second half strongly but the home defence held firm, with Alex Armstrong topping the tackle count yet again. They were also turning over possession, Jack Coulter winning two balls in particular and Hobson showing some good footwork to carry the ball forward.
Nevertheless, Foyle were camped on the Portora line after ten minutes until Smytton tackled, ripped the ball free and broke out to take play into the Foyle half and end any chance of them getting a foothold in the game.
The home team spurned several very good scoring opportunities before eventually crossing the line again when McCann and Haire worked a quick throw in for Haire to put Keys over in the left corner.
The roles were reversed shortly afterwards. James Balfour had run from his own 22 and looked certain to score a fine solo effort but he was caught a few yards from the try line. Johnston was in support to win the ruck. Keys found Haire on the outside to score in the right corner and bring the game to a close.
This Saturday Portora travel to Belfast to play Grosvenor Grammar School in the third round. It is the fourth year in a row that the two schools have met in the competition and Portora will be seeking to avenge last year’s defeat. It promises to be a stern test. Kick-off is scheduled for 11am.
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