Highfield 21 St Mary’s College 17
HIGHFIELD got their Energia All Ireland League campaign off to a winning start after a narrow win over Dublin side St Mary’s College at Woodleigh Park last Saturday.
Highfield were on the back foot for long periods and particularly in the final minutes as the visitors were camped on the Field line in search of a winning score, but a resolute home defence held firm for a victory that at times did not look on the cards.
Credit to the hosts, they responded positively every time they fell behind in a game that saw the lead change hands on six occasions.
A nice tribute was made before the kick-off as both sides lined up to pay their respects to all those from both clubs who were lost during the Covid period and were denied the send-off they fully deserved.
Mary's started the game running the ball from all angles and, in particular, Mark Fogarty and Myles Carey were making some telling bursts, but for all their dominance their only reward was a penalty from Conor Dean after eight minutes.
Highfield took the lead three minutes later, when following a yellow card for the visitors Liam Corcoran, Highfield opted for the touchline. From the line out the home pack drove towards the line and when the ball went out to fly-half James Taylor, he jinked his way over the line and added the extras for a 7-3 lead.
Mary’s hit the front approaching the half-hour mark, from a scrum they pushed their way over the line and Niall Hurley touched down and Dean converted.
Taylor was off target with a penalty minutes before the break but pressure by the home pack where James Rochford, Miah Cronin and Eoin Keating excelled Highfield barged over the Mary’s line with Daragh Fitzgerald scoring and Taylor converted for a 14-10 interval lead.
Highfield dominated the early stages of the second half but were unable to add to their tally and Mary’s got their passing game going again and regained the lead on 58 minutes following splendid work from their pack Conor Corcoran went in for the visitors second try and Deane converted to make it 17-14 in favour of the Dublin side.
From the restart, Highfield upped the ante and were camped deep in the Mary’s 22. From a line-out excellently won by Dave O’Connell, they mauled their way over the line and Ronán O’Sullivan touched down and Taylor’s conversion saw the home side take the spoils.