Highfield v Connemara – UBL 26-11-11

Highfield 35 – Connemara 16

Connemara entered Saturday’s game at Highfield knowing it would be a tough encounter against the Cork team, and they were right. Highfield bullied Connemara at times, particularly with their rolling mauls which resulted in two tries. Highfield had a massive pack and they utilised to its full extent.
Although Highfield were deserved winners, Connemara will feel the margin of defeat didn’t reflect their efforts. Indeed, despite Highfields domination up front, Connemara had numerous chances to score, and would have had it not been for resilient Highfield defending. Highfield took the lead early in the game. After a line out Highfield opted for a rolling maul and the sheer size of their pack surged over the line for 5-0. It was to stay at 5-0, due to strong swirling winds their out half was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt. Connemara’s out-half Sean Joyce had no such problems as he scored all Connemara’s 16 points, including a try after a jinking run. Highfield’s second was almost a carbon copy of their first, another line out resulted in a rolling maul and they again powered over for 10-0, this time their conversion was successful to make it 12-0. Connemara responded well and were soon over for a try of their own. Some incisive back play saw Sean Joyce evade several tackles and run in under the posts. He converted the resultant conversion for 12-7.
At 12-7 Connemara were firmly in the game, but it wasn’t long until Highfield crossed again. For once it wasn’t their forwards, after some good Highfield passing and poor Connemara tackling Highfields outside centre ran in unopposed to make it 17-7. It was a simple conversion for their out-half who dually made it 19-7.
Connemara did threaten a few more times in the first half, particularly through David McDonagh, but Highfield held out to keep the score at 19-7 at half time.
Connemara started the second half much better and laid siege to the Highfield line, Connemara came close on a number of occasions, but lacked the cutting edge on the day. They rewarded for their pressure with three second half penalties, all of which Sean Joyce converted. The penalties however were a mere consolation as Highfield secured their fourth try of the game late on. It a counter attacking move Highfield turned over Connemara ball and sent their winger over in the corner for their first bonus point of the season. Connemara were close to a deserved try at the death, but were once again off the mark.
Highfield deserved their victory, but Connemara will feel that on another day it could have been much different.

 John O’Sullivan

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