Cork rugby: Highfield left frustrated as AIL season called off when they were in pole position for promotion to top flight

Cork rugby: Highfield left frustrated as AIL season called off when they were in pole position for promotion to top flight

Lee Nicholas of Shannon of tackles Eddie Earle of Highfield in the AIL at Thomond Park, earlier this season. Picture: Don Moloney

HIGHFIELD Director of Rugby Billy Quinlan felt there was a lack of communication surrounding the IRFU’s decision last Thursday to bring the season to an abrupt end.

Clubs throughout the land had already been idle for a couple of weeks due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus and will now have to wait until next term before making a return to competitive action. 

The Woodleigh Park men were on the brink of promotion to the All-Ireland League top-flight, with a nine-point cushion at the summit of Division 1B and just four rounds remaining.

While Quinlan doesn’t disagree with the steps taken by the union, he believes it could have been handled in a different manner.

“In the bigger scheme of things, it’s difficult to argue against the cancellation of the league. We’re all in agreement, everybody in the country, the health of everybody comes first. 

"That was our first reaction. We’ve a lot of questions about how the decision was reached and how it was communicated,” Quinlan stated.

“I think the clubs, in general, deserve much more than a tweet at 8pm on a night time to find this out. It’s certainly not a level of communication that we would be happy with in our club and we’re volunteers. 

"We’ve question marks about it, obviously.

“It seems a bit rushed. I could be wrong, but it seems a bit rushed. Obviously the lads in the IRFU are under pressure as well, like everybody else. It’s a difficult time for everybody.” 

Though he once more reiterated how serious the current situation is throughout the country, Quinlan nevertheless added that a number of clubs will be disappointed to see the season coming to an end.

“Cork Con there have had a fantastic season, they’re 12 points ahead in their division [1A]. That doesn’t come overnight, success like that. That’s years of planning. 

"It’s the same with ourselves, all the other clubs and the women’s league. UL Bohs are way ahead in that. It’s disappointing for the clubs. I don’t think anybody will disagree with me on that,” Quinlan said.

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