NO JOY FOR ’STONES

High­field in­flict fourth de­feat in a row on Grey­stones

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - AIL DI­VI­SION 2A at Dr Hickey Park

GREY­STONES tra­vails con­tin­ued last Saturday as they strug­gle to ad­just to life in Di­vi­sion 2A of the Ul­ster Bank League suf­fer­ing their fourth de­feat in a row this time at home to High­field los­ing out 22–9.

Their Achilles heal in pre­vi­ous rounds has been the ten­dency to leak early soft tries to then mount a fight­back in vain and it felt a lit­tle like ground­hog day when after just five min­utes High­field broke through the cen­tre of the home de­fence for the opening try un­der the posts.

That the score was kept to just five points was down to the lack­adaisi­cal kick­ing ap­proach of the High­field out­half and the quick re­ac­tion of Jack Keat­ing who broke from the line to charge down the con­ver­sion at­tempt.

Grey­stones had started the game well enough with some strong run­ning by Padraig Geoghe­gan mak­ing deep in­roads into the High­field half and it looked like the home side were in for a good af­ter­noon.

An­drew Kealy had the first op­por­tu­nity to put points on the board with a make­able penalty but pushed the ball right of the posts and when the opening High­field score came it was al­most against the run of play.

Grey­stones were pe­nalised whilst in pos­ses­sion on their own ten me­tre line and from the re­sul­tant li­ne­out deep in the ‘Stones 22 the High­field pack picked and drove at the home de­fence to great ef­fect us­ing their su­pe­rior bulk to make re­peated gains un­til flanker Ian McCarthy crossed un­der the posts.

After this early set­back Grey­stones dug in and con­tin­ued to bring the game to High­field and were re­warded with two penalty con­ver­sions from Kealy to build a slen­der 6–5 lead after 15 min­utes of play.

The sec­ond High­field try was to follow shortly after­wards and the re­sult of a sus­tained pe­riod of pres­sure that saw the Grey­stones de­fence stretched from touch­line to touch­line leav­ing a huge gap for High­field to ex­ploit cre­at­ing an easy run in for cap­tain Miah Cronin to score.

On a day when lit­tle went right off the tee for the visitors the con­ver­sion was missed.

At 10–6 down Grey­stones were still in the game and needed to keep within a sin­gle score but the sucker punch came on the stroke of half time with the third High­field try.

The Grey­stones de­fence were largely marked ab­sent or guilty of fall­ing off a cou­ple of half tack­les with High­field in pos­ses­sion and prob­ing for gaps that al­lowed the big sec­ond row Pa­trick Ryan to can­ter in touch­ing down be­hind the posts.

The in­abil­ity of the High­field out­half to con­vert three kick­able con­ver­sions from in front of the posts kept Grey­stones within nine points at half time.

The sec­ond half con­tin­ued with Grey­stones tak­ing the play to High­field but with­out mak­ing the telling break­through.

Last years top scorer Jack Keat­ing is at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of op­po­si­tion de­fences in­tent on deny­ing him any space or op­por­tu­nity to at­tack.

An­drew Kealy brought the home side within los­ing bonus point ter­ri­tory with his third penalty on 50 min­utes but High­field put the match out of reach with their fourth try five min­utes from time.

Main­tain­ing an ad­van­tage in the set piece scrums all af­ter­noon with their big­ger and more phys­i­cal pack High­field had Grey­stones in their sites when awarded an at­tack­ing scrum 10 me­ters out.

When the scrum buck­led Grey­stones were pe­nalised and the ref­eree bran­dished a yel­low card to prop Bobby Clancy.

With a man down it was in­evitable that High­field would con­tinue to turn the screw and after a cou­ple more re­sets and penal­ties they broke the Grey­stones line with the ref­eree about to award a penalty try any­way.

Grey­stones fin­ished the game camped on the High­field line and in a re­play of the end game at Ne­nagh a week ago they failed to break through for the score that would have earned a los­ing bonus point with the game fin­ish­ing when prop Conor Pearse knocked on with the line in his sights.

The league now goes into a two week break that won’t have come soon enough for the walk­ing wounded in the Grey­stones treat­ment room. While some the in­juries suf­fered al­ready are sea­son end­ing ab­sences coach Kevin Lewis will be hop­ing for the re­turn of some of his charges to bol­ster the squad ahead of the trip to De­nis Leamy’s Cashel on Oc­to­ber 28th

Grey­stones: Bobby Clancy, Ben Tou, Conor Pearse, John Cam­bell, Oisin Len­non, Cor­mac O’Donoghue, Eoin Marmion, Mick Doyle, Andy Roberts, Kil­lian Marmion, Michael Kirk, An­drew Kealy, Padraig Geoghe­gan, Jack Keat­ing, Matt O’Brien.

Re­place­ments: Robin O’Sul­li­van, Michael Dou­glas, Shane Mul­vany, Paul McCul­lagh, Nick Quirk

Scor­ers: An­drew Kealy (3 penal­ties)

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