Highfield 41 UL Bohemians 0
CHAMPAGNE corks popped as Highfield were presented with the All-Ireland League Division 2A title at the end of another exhibition of their free-flowing style of playing at Woodleigh Park on Saturday.
Even a biting cold wind, which blew with some ferocity to the top end of the pitch, couldn’t detract from the home supporters’ delight at finishing an historic, record-breaking season with seven more tries.
It brought the tally to 103 from the 18 games for a final tally of 77 points with 14 try bonus points and three losing bonuses adding to the landmark figure.
And when it was all done and dusted, Highfield’s 671 points outstripped everyone else in the country and by some distance, too.
Field, at last, waved goodbye to division 2A and are now looking forward to a first stint in 1B next season, buoyed by a magnificent campaign just completed.
UL Bohs had use of the piercing wind from the kick-off and missed an early penalty chance to jump in front before the champions scored in their first attack in the ninth minute.
Wing Colin O’Neill’s break down the left opened up space for number eight Miah Cronin to cross for his 13th league try, which Shane O’Riordan converted.
Ten minutes later Field were in again for their second try, O’Riordan’s deft kick ahead judged perfectly for wing Gavin O’Leary to score his 10th overall and a 12-0 lead.
He added to his list on the half-hour mark, finishing off superb approach work from Chris Bannon and Luke Kingston to stretch the advantage to 17 points.
And there was still time for an important milestone in the 36th minute, when O’Riordan brushed past a tackler to touch down at the posts for Field’s 100th try, which he duly converted for a 24-0 half-time lead.
It also yielded another bonus point and while some expected the division’s outstanding team to ease off on the resumption, backed by the gale, the Cork club still weren’t satisfied.
O’Riordan claimed his second, prospering from an attempted clearance kick missing touch and the out-half powered down left the wing to score.
Just after the hour Cronin bagged his second and the side’s sixth following a spell of sustained pressure with O’Riordan converting for 36-0.
And O’Neill had the satisfaction of round off a glorious season by taking Kingston’s pass to complete the rout and sign off on a memorable 2018-19.
Scorers for Highfield: Tries: M Cronin (2), G O’Leary (2), S O’Riordan (2), C O’Neill Cons: S O’Riordan (3)
HIGHFIELD: L Kingston; C O’Neill, P O’Toole, M Dorgan, G O’Leary; S O’Riordan, C Bannon; M Dillane, D Healy, T Ryan; K O’Leary, F O’Sullivan, captain; C Gallagher, M Cronin, J Duffy.
Subs: C O’Sullivan, P Butler, E Earle, D O’Sullivan, K Duggan.
UL BOHEMIANS: R Bourke; J Murray, H Fleming, C Ryan, O Scannell; M Mullaly, H Bourke; J Conway, J Bennett, P Nesbitt; S Seymour, D Kinane; D O’Grady, B Walsh, captain, I Condell.
Subs: D O’Connor, T Butler, D Rowsome, J Johnston, T White.
Referee: J Wilson (IRFU)