Highfield were sitting at the top of AIL 1B as they faced an emotional Malone, both teams paying tribute to a recent bereavement in the Malone RFC family.
Report and images by Richard Owens.
The Cork-men opened with an onslaught on the Malone line without James McAllister who was an early visitor to the bin after an infringement in the line out. Malone almost held out, but oozing penalties, they cracked a few minutes before their number was restored and Highfield’s hooker Robert Murphy, crossed the line from a line out maul to open the scoring close to the posts.
The conversion from Shane O’Riordan, was good; however that 7 – 0 lead only lasted minutes as Malone found a gap in the Highfield midfield from the kick off and through multiple hands the ball eventually ended up with captain Dave Cave who forced his way over the try line. The extras were missed but it was the perfect response from the red socks. 7 – 5.
The hosts scored again a few minutes later after quick thinking from scrum half Shane Kelly who tapped from a penalty, scattering Highfield’s defence and affording space for Andy Bryans’ to go over on the left wing. The shot at goal for the additional two points was accurate from Rory Campbell and Malone were 12-7 ahead.
Approaching the half hour Malone missed a penalty to touch and the subsequent break from Highfield saw their number 8, Miah Cronin, balance the scores. The crosswind was causing problems for the kickers and the touch line conversion was missed. No further scores and it remained 12 – 12 at half time.
The second half was a ferocious slug out for thirty minutes, only interrupted by one attempt at goal, missed, from Highfield as neither team would yield. Again it was a yellow card, this time shown to Highfield’s Cronin, that created some space and Malone looked to have secured victory with a third try through their out half Angus Curtis even though the extras were missed in the tricky breeze.
Down 17 – 12, Highfield hammered back at Malone, rewarded with a line out near the Malone 5 m line. The subsequent maul wasn’t defended and their hooker Murphy again dotted down to level the scores, as again the conversion was missed. 17-17 with minutes left, Malone found themselves defending but an infringement lead to the third yellow card.
The penalty was on the Malone 22 and this time the Highfield kicker O’Riordan was accurate, edging his team ahead as the ref called last play. Highfield collected the restart and booted the ball into the stand, celebrating their continued pole position in 1B. Frustrating for Malone as they would have felt this was a game that wriggled off the hook
Malone: Aaron Sexton, Rory Campbell, David McMaster, Nathan Brown, Andrew Bryans, Angus Curtis, Shane Kelly, Tommy O’Hagan, Claytan Milligan, Gareth Milasinovich, Adam Mc Namee, James Michael McAlister, Dan Kerr, David Cave, Max Porter. Replacements: Gary Andrews, Aidan McSwiggan, Stewart McKendrick, Ben McCaughey, Lewis Finlay, Richard Greenwood
Highfield: Luke Kingston, Sam Burns, Patrick O’Toole, Mark Dorgan, Paul Stack, Shane O’Riordan, Chris Banon, James Rochford, Robert Murphy, Daragh Fitzgerald, Fintan O’Sullivan, David O’Connell, Ryan Murphy, Ronán O’Sullivan, Miah Cronin. Replacements: Travis Coomey, Ian McCarthy, Cathal Gallagher, Edward Earle, Seán Quaid, Colin O’Neill.
Note: We found a glitch with our membership platform not renewing monthly subscriptions correctly. We have addressed the issue which should be fine going forward. If you find your membership incorrectly expired, or if you have any other issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll fix as soon as we can. Thanks.