Highfield rugby club making strides in the AIL Division 1B thanks to new gym

Highfield rugby club making strides in the AIL Division 1B thanks to new gym

Highfield’s Ben Murphy looks for support as he is tackled by Shannon’s Will Leonard in the recent AIL clash at Woodleigh Park. Picture: Howard Crowdy

HIGHFIELD have had an incredible run of seasons to get to Division 1B in the Energia All Ireland League but that hasn’t happened by accident.

Happy to be where they are at the moment, they will be looking to push on in 2020 and their planning off the field has been just as important as what has happened on the field over the last few seasons.

Any team that has visited Woodleigh Park this season can’t help but have been impressed with their new gym building.

Previously players have had to pile into a small area in the club’s hall to train but that is now a thing of the past and club director of rugby Robert Bogue thinks the club will see dividends from investing in the gym over the coming years.

“Yeah it’s something that is important for the young fellas and something that we have been planning for a while not just because of the division one standards but because it’s the right thing to do and it’s needed,” says Bogue.

Miah Cronin, Highfield, tackles Timothy McNiece, City of Armagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Miah Cronin, Highfield, tackles Timothy McNiece, City of Armagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan

What makes the new gym building even more noteworthy is the fact that a lot of the planning and technical work was carried out on a voluntary basis by club members.

“There’s a lot of work gone on in the background with the lads involved in the club. We’d have to give huge praise to John O’Callaghan, he has just finished playing with the club, he was a prop with our AIL team up to the end of the last season and he was the engineer involved. He did a fierce amount of work he was up here pretty much every day during the build and finish out.

“Sam Godsil and Cormac Mahony also put a huge amount of time and energy into it as well. There were a huge amount of lads that are either players or committee members who put a lot of their spare time into it for free and I suppose that says a lot about the spirit that is within the club.

“The building of it went out for tender and Liam ‘Chippy’ O’Donovan – who played with the club was the builder. It was good that somebody from here got it but as I said it went out for tender,” says the director of rugby.

Those in the clubs who weren’t involved in the building side of the gym put time and effort into raising money for the cost of building and fitting out the new gym. That was a club-wide effort says Bogue.

“We did a huge amount of fundraising one of the biggest fundraisers was the Strictly come dancing but it’s been ongoing for a while and obviously a government grant as well.

“We previously had a small space at the top of the hall and to be honest the new gym has given everybody a boost around the club. It’s professional looking. It looks and feels like a real gym and it’s got top of the range equipment. Chris Rowe – ex Dolphin – supplied that so we tried to keep everything local as well. 

"Players are looking forward to getting up and going in there and it’s creating a professional feel in the club. Cork City Council gave us a grant for the equipment as well,” added Bogue.

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