Don’t know how I managed not to post this on the site after the game, I apologise profusely.
A Ten-All loss is how one Bruff supporter described last Saturdays game in Kilballyowen. I wouldn’t completely agree. Highfield came into this game with a mixed record for the season to date facing a Bruff team that has settled in very well thank you to life in AIL division 2.
A good crowd turned up at Kilballyowen with no small number waiting to see Cork inter-county hurler Diarmuid “The Rock” O’ Sullivan changing code to tog out in the colours of the Cork City club. Despite being completely dominant in the scrums, lineout losses hindered Bruff in maintaining possession and missed penalties from both sides meant that despite camping almost exclusively in the Highfield 22 for most of the first half, Bruff showed very little on the scoreboard for all of their efforts. Following the sinbinning of the Highfield prop after half an hour of play for constant indiscretions at the ruck, David Maw slotted over the resulting penalty to put the first chink of daylight between the teams. Again it seemed to be one of those days when the large crowds of home supporters felt that if Bruff could only crack open the Highfield defence that the floodgates could open. After a brace of 5 meter scrums with the Highfield pack going backwards, Bruff had a serious chance of a pushover try or even a penalty try but a quickly taken tap penalty was knocked on relieving the beleaguered Highfield defence once more. A combination of stout defending by the cork pack coupled with handling errors by Bruff meant that the first half finished after seven and a half minutes of extra time with Bruff on a mere 3 points to nothing lead. The large travelling Cork support could not believe their luck.
Second half commenced in much the same manner as the first ended with pressure mounting and mounting on the Highfield pack. Bruff were finally rewarded with an Alan Bourke try after only a couple minutes break and with Maw slotting the conversion, the Bruff support began to relax and finally began to feel that finally that Bruff would run up a few scores. That wasn’t in the Highfield directors script though and yet again they managed to repel attack after attack finally lifting the siege with a try on 61 minutes by the Highfield No. 4 coming from a Penalty lineout on the Bruff 5 meter line in what was Highfields first foray into the Bruff half. Their 13 calmly slotting the conversion. Ten points to Seven. Following this, Bruff again laid siege to the Highfield 22 and after one missed penalty attempt by Maw, Bruff battled and battled but failed to get any closer to the whitewash than two meters.
One particularly surreal moment came following the binning of the Highfield no. 7 for charging with the shoulder, following some handbag swinging, Diarmuid “The Rock” O’ Sullivan moved in from the wing-back to the wing-forward position to defend yet another 5 meter scrum and his coach was heard to yell from behind the goal line “Don’t lift your props legs Diarmuid, bind on his shorts for god’s sake”. Moments later, ripples of laughter were heard around the ground when one very young supporter then shouted in to ask “Are you still on strike Diarmuid?”
Again Bruff were penalised however and the pressure lifted, Momentum was beginning to swing in favour of the corkonians for the first time in the game. Bruff spurned one last penalty chance just between the 22 and the 10 meter line to kick for the corner but again were unable to convert the resulting lineout into points. Highfield eventually ground their way upfield and were rewarded with a penalty on the Bruff 10 meter line for diving in at the ruck. Again the 13 calmly slotted the kick over and the last minute was played out both sides had to be content with sharing the spoils. Highfield stood testament to the adage that defences win games, and showed that not giving in will bring its own rewards. On the balance of play throughout the game they may not have deserved them but their defence of the line definitely earned their two points.
Ballynahinch and Landsdowne are tied on 25 league points at the top of the table and UCC just keep us in fourth place on score difference, both of us on 24 points. Highfield head towards the middle of the table after going from 12 to 14 points. Our old opponents Instonians have failed to get a single league point after their first 7 outings and look destined for a return to Division three, the question looks like being who will join them. The Christmas break will give the much depleted Bruff squad time to recuperate and build itself up again in time for the second leg in the new year.
Next outing is the Munster Senior Cup Semi-final against our nearest neighbours Old Crescent in Garryowen Football Club on Saturday.
J1 XV: No Game
J2 XV: The “Thirds” won their friendly against UL Bohs by 13 points to 12 but it was marred by a very serious leg injury to J.P. Moloney, who had to be taken by ambulance for treatment. We wish him well in his recovery.
Youth: U18 Bruff 22, Old Crescent 0
U13 Bruff 0 Garryowen 12