AIL Div 1
Under difficult conditions in Annacotty yesterday Highfield defended gallantly to secure a bonus point against old rivals UL Bohs. Highfield made little use of the strong wind while they played with it in the first half, and indeed Bohs had much of the possession and territorial advantage in the opening quarter. However their forays were stopped up front by strong resistance in the pack, led throughout by Marie Barrett and Donna Hughes, and out wide through a series of last ditch tackles from both wings, Eilish Foley and Nic Aherne. Eilish in particular made two dramatic chases back to stop Irish speedster Lynn Cantwell on the break twice, as well as an imperative last man tackle on the same player. A number of other chances for Bohs were also denied, Noreen Fitzgerald using her strength and experience to hold up a rampaging Joy Neville over the line to deny a certain try. Eventually UL got the breakthrough however and Olivane Vaughan scored a try in the corner to give Bohs a 5-0 lead at the break. Facing into the wind for the second half, Highfield used the kick-off to secure some scarce territory and a sequence of picks from the pack edged them ever closer to the Bohemians line. When the referee awarded a penalty for Highfield nobody reacted faster than Helen Brosnan who tapped quickly and rounded 3 defenders to equalise for Highfield. From the drop-off however, it was territorial dominance for Bohs, the strong wind and rain at that point made it very difficult for Highfield to get out of their half, and a penalty in the 22 was crashed over near the post by Fiona Coughlan and converted by Nicole Fitzgerald. Highfield had some heroic defending from there on, Helen Brosnan made some clearing kicks under immense pressure and the pack, collectively, were unyielding. There were little further opportunities for Highfield to get the equalising score however so in the end they had to settle for a bonus point and satisfaction at a much improved performance from recent outings.
Crosshaven 17 Highfield 71
u18 girls League
The Highfield U18 girlâ00s team continued their winning ways with a 71-17 win over Crosshaven on a blustery day in Crosshaven on Saturday. Highfield started strongly with a try from Aoife Twomey, converted by Sarah Wrixon. Claire Ahern scored Highfieldâ00s second try, her first of four on the day. The Highfield girls continued to demonstrate good tacking and offloading skills. Captain Roisin Whitford led the way in defence with Emma Crowther and Ciara Bridgeman also making some important tackles. Rare confusion in Highfieldâ00s defence left Crosshavenâ00s former Highfield player Maeve Oâ00Neill in under the post for a converted try. Towards the end of the first half Sarah Wrixon scored a try when the ball was moved down the blind side off a Highfield scrum.
In the second half Highfieldâ00s Claire Ahern and Aoife Twomey were again on the scoreboard with Sarah Wrixon continuing to demonstrate excellent kicking skills, kicking 8 out of 11 conversions on the day. Tries were also scored by Mona Fehily and Kate Deasy, who showed great running skills to support Aoife Twomey on her break towards the line. Freya Vaughan and Meg O'Regan showed good composure on the wings. Although Crosshaven came back with two tries during the second half it didnâ00t trouble the Highfield girls. A big thank you goes to the Oâ00Sullivan management team of Niamh and Mossie! Mossieâ00s fitness was tested during the match with all the runs under the posts as touch judge. Senior women's coach Paul MacDonald had also travelled to give some wise words at half time and encouraging advice after the final whistle. The U18â00s next match is against Bandon at Highfield on Sat 15th December. Training continues on Friday nights at 6.30pm.
Highfield 72 Young Munster 0
Munster Development League
Highfield's development league players recorded an excellent victory in their first league outing this season. The visitors Young Munster are new to the league, having formed only a few months previously, and played very well considering their relative inexperience. However many of the Highfield team were completing for places and building fitness for the upcoming division 1 games and started the game in determined fashion. Although competitive in the pack, Young Munster had no answers to the home team's speed out wide, and Nicola Aherne, Heather McLaughlin and Gillian Morrissey all recorded early tries. Highfield also dominated exchanges in the pack, excellent tackling and fielding of drop-offs from Elaine Langley was supported by Mary Batterberry, Deirdre Kelleher and Laura Ankettell, demonstrating their commitment at training since starting rugby in August. Another newcomer, Mags Finn, played like a veteran, slotting over a number of conversions and fielding kicks until her enforced early departure after 25 minutes. This cleared the way for another debutant, Amy Desmond, to enter the fray. Highfield continued to dominate the breakdowns, and turnovers from the less experienced opposition were seized upon for further tries from Nicola and Gillian, with Louise Duggan and Mary Batterberry also adding further touchdowns. The second half saw a raft of changes for Highfield, with Karen Casey finally returning to action since her collarbone injury in March. The pack commitment continued and the halves, Louise Duggan and Alison Donnelly kept the ball moving to the wide players, keeping everybody involved in the game. Further tries resulted from Claudia Long, Jeanette Fitzsimons (on her last outing before her travels) and Heather McLaughlin, another making a positive from injury for her first game of the season. Louise Duggan added some conversions before Deirdre Morley's debut try following Alison Donnelly's break, signed off the action on a very positive outing for the squad, giving Paul MacDonald some welcome selection headaches for the weeks to come.