NUIG-Corinthians got back to winning ways after a hard fought 22 -10 win over Highfield at Corinthian Park on Saturday afternoon.
The match was decided up front as NUIG-Corinthians’ forwards obliterated the visitors at scrum and lineout time. And it was fitting that the set-piece led to two tries with tighthead prop, Craig Hansberry, taking the plaudits for going over the whitewash for a brace.
Conor O’Sullivan grabbed the other score for the home side with a superb solo effort but the failure to secure a try bonus point could prove crucial at the conclusion of the playoffs.
Highfield made the brighter start and nearly went over in at the corner only for NUIG-Corinthians’ fullback, Patrick Griffin, making an outstanding last gasp cover tackle.
However, the home side was the first on the scoreboard when centre, Dwayne Corcoran, bisected the posts after Highfield were penalised at the scrum.
And it was to get better for the Corinthian Park side a few minutes later, thanks to the hard graft of the men in the pack.
After kicking to touch from a scrum penalty, NUIG-Corinthians mauled their way to the try line with the visitors managing to stop the momentum just before the whitewash. But Highfield could not stop big prop, Craig Hansberry, from crashing over from six inches out to extend the advantage to eight points.
Corcoran added the extras and the score was 10-0 after 21 minutes.
It was a game full of physicality and endeavour but both sides made numerous handling errors resulting in a stop start match.
Highfield eventually drew blood in the 35th minute via a penalty to reduce the arrears to seven points.
However, NUIG-Corinthians had the final say in the first half thanks to wing, Conor O’Sullivan.
Excellent work at the breakdown by Roy Stanley effected a turnover and NUIG-Corinthians spread the ball wide. Inside centre, Philip Murphy, produced a deft offload to unleash O’Sullivan who rounded the last defender and sprinted home for NUIG-Corinthians’ second try of the day on the stroke of halftime.
Corcoran’s conversion drifted wide and the half ended with NUIG-Corithians 15-3 to the good.
The opening fifteen minutes of the second forty was littered with mistakes as both teams failed to retain possession after a few phases.
The home side got their third try of the match from another driven lineout and it was Hansberry who came up with ball again for his second touchdown.
Corcoran nailed the difficult conversion to leave the scores at 22-3 after 56 minutes.
The extra bonus point was on the minds of the home side as they turned down numerous penalty opportunities to go for the try. But due to poor retention of the ball and a defiant and sometimes illegal Highfield, resulting in a sin-binning for Highfield’s left wing, NUIG-Corinthians were unable to get over the line.
Highfield earned themselves a deserved try after a fantastic length of the field score, which involved outstanding interchanges between backs and forwards. Highfield’s Fullback finished off the move and slotted the extra two points on the cusp of fulltime.
NUIG-Corinthians’ next match is against UCC at Corinthian Park on Saturday 14th Februray.
15 Patrick Griffin, 14 Joss Murray, 13 Dwayne Corcoran, 12 Philip Murphy, 11 Conor O’Sullivan, 10 Cathal Evans, 9 David O’Mahoney, 1 Shane Faulkner, 2 Pat O’Toole, 3 Craig Hansberry, 4 Thomas Fegan, 5 Peter Claffey, 6 Michael O’Connell, 7 Marc Kelly, 8 Roy Stanley
16 Kevin Harty, 17 Morgan Conneely, 18 Aaron Broderick, 19 Ian Kilcoyne, 20 Ruairi Greene, 21 Peter Ennis, 22 Josh Foley
Matt Cassidy @ Corinthian Park