AIL rugby: Highfield stay on track for promotion to Division 1A

AIL rugby: Highfield stay on track for promotion to Division 1A
Paul Stack of Highfield breaks away as Shannon's Ikem Ugwueru puts in a big hit on Dave O'Sullivan in the AIL at Thomond Park recently. Picture: Don Moloney

Old Belvedere 12 Highfield 17

HIGHFIELD stayed on course for promotion to Division 1A after they beat Old Belvedere at Ollie Campbell Park on Saturday.

Tim Ryan’s side have a nine point lead at the top of the table, and with just four games left, look unlikely to be overtaken by Old Wesley.

The Dublin outfit deserve credit for the way they went about their business and deserved a bonus point for their efforts having played most of the game with 14 men after they had a player red carded early for throwing a punch.

Ryan’s side have shown a winning mentality all season and it they certainly needed it against good opposition and in such awful conditions.

The game mightn’t have been the prettiest from Highfield’s perspective with the huge crossfield wind dictating it.

The Model Farm Road outfit still managed to score three tries with Colin O’Neill and Kevin Slater crossing while the pack claimed a penalty try as well after putting huge pressure on the home pack.

Colin O’Neill got Highfield off to a great start with a try which was unconverted for a 5-0 head start.

They extended that lead with the penalty try and had a man extra for the final 50 minutes of the game after Belvo had their man sent. That score left it at 12-0 and in the testing conditions that was a big lead.

Belvedere deserve great credit though. They got in for their first score of the game six minutes before half time to give them a fighting chance and the score remained 12-5 at the interval.

Just as they have been showing a winning mentality all season, they also have showed a willingness to run the ball and their third try was the pick of the bunch as Kevin Slater finished off that was started at half way and sold a dummy before touching down to give the Cork team a 17-5 lead on the 50 minute mark.

To their credit, Belvedere refused to lie down and came back with a try of their own through Peter McCague. Tommy Whittle managed to land the penalty to give the Dubliners a sniff of a chance but Highfield’s defence for the remainder of the game remained intact.

Coach Ryan and assistant Conor Quaid will be delighted to get a couple of weeks off for their players to help with any knocks and bumps after such a physical encounter.

Highfield are at home on St Patrick’s weekend with a clash against St Mary’s.

Scorers for Highfield: Tries: C O’Neill, pen try, Kevin Slater; plus pen con.

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