Greystones keep promotion hopes on track after win over Highfield
STONES WERE on the road again last weekend as they headed south to Cork for their fifth back to back match in the Ulster Bank League this week against Highfield. Stones travelled full of confidence on the back of their recent run of very impressive wins but also conscious that Highfield would not be an easy task at home and a win would be very important in the quest for promotion to Division 2.
Highfield won the toss and elected to play against the wind in the first half and also taking into account the sloping nature of the pitch believed this would give them a good platform for the match particularly in the second half. It was indeed to prove to be a game of two halves with Stones scoring four tries in the first half and not really threatening the try line in the second half during which time Highfield ran in four tries in response to make for a very tense finish to the match.
Andrew Kealy opened the scoring for Greystones in the first ten minutes when he continued the excellent run of kicking form to slot over a penalty for three points. Kealy was to feature again five minutes later when Aaron Higgs broke from the centre and released the ball to Kealy to score in the corner and go on to convert for a 10-0 lead for Stones. Ronan Carroll was to strike next after running through the phases Ronan dis- pensed with the last remaining Highfield defence to touch down in the right hand corner. Highfield were not out of it by any means and put together some strong attacking phases to be rewarded with a converted try in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Stones upped the pace of the game and put together their best performance of the match to score two more tries before the break with Alan O'Toole's try converted by Andrew Kealy and Kealy going over for his second try just at the break for half-time with Stones leading by 27 points to 7. A wise man on the sideline said that looking at the conditions Stones would need a 20 point lead at half-time and how true this was to be.
The second half as expected started a high pace and Stones were unlucky to lose Alan Dempsey through injury when he came off worst from a clash with the Highfield pack. Highfield had Stones pinned down in their half and reaped the rewards with a converted try just on the hour mark.
Stones kept up the battle and managed to bring play into the Highfield half and were awarded a penalty for a Highfield infringement in what was to prove the most important three points kicked by Andrew Kealy. Highfield moved up a gear and brought play back into Stones 22 again and crossed again to score a converted try with five minutes remaining.
In the dying minutes Highfield kicked a Garryowen that caused some confusion in the Stones defence and was collected and touched down under the posts. The conversion was to be the last play as the referee blow the final whistle to the relief of Stones for a final score of 28-30. This leaves Stones in a solid third in the Ulster Bank League with three matches remaining.
Speaking after the match GreystonestTeam captain Barry Holmes said ‘Highfield is always a difficult place to play and with a 30-28 score today was no different. They fought right to the end and deservedly got two points out of it. We have three games left against even tougher opposition so we need to up the ante if we want to succeed in this league.’
Tries: Andrew Kealy (2), Ronan Carroll (1), Alan O'Toole (1). Conversions: Andrew Kealy (2). Penalties Andrew Kealy (2). Greystones: 15 Ross Spillane, 14 Ronan Carroll, 13 Simon Malone, 12 Aaron Higgs, 11 Andrew Kealy, 10 James Power, 9 Roddy Carroll, 1 Ronan Kearney, 2 Dylan Fawsitt, 3 Bobby Clancy, 4 Barry Holmes (Capt), 5 Ben Armstrong, 6 Darragh Duggan, 7 Alan Dempsey, 8 Alan O'Toole. Replacements: 16 Peter Hipple, 17 Neil O'Brien, 18 Rob Smith, 19 James Beery, 20 Emlyn Lynch.
Ronan Carroll scores for Greystones during their league win over Highfield.