Post-Match Reaction: All-Ireland League Division 1B – Highfield Player/Coach Tim Ryan – The Evening Echo – December 10 2019

‘Soft tries’ frustrates Ryan and Highfield


Daire Walsh

HIGHFIELD player/coach Tim Ryan admitted the concession of ‘soft tries’ was a contributing factor in their defeat at the hands of Old Wesley in Energia Park last Saturday.

Previously unbeaten in All-Ireland League Division 1B – with seven straight victories to their name – the Woodleigh Park outfit fell to an agonising 25-22 reversal. While they hold onto top spot in the table ahead of their forthcoming clash against Shannon, Wesley are currently just three points adrift of Highfield with a game less played.

“These things happen. I thought we gave them a few soft tries, we could have done a bit better there in defence. They made us work hard for our tries and our scores,” Ryan remarked after the weekend’s game.

“Whereas I thought we kind of let them get some soft ones. Don’t get me wrong, they played very, very good rugby. I just thought we could have defended a bit better.”

Though Ryan had no issue in hailing Old Wesley as worthy winners on the day, Ryan felt the officiating in Donnybrook left a lot to be desired. This was something the former Munster and Toulon prop took particular notice of during his final-quarter cameo in the Highfield front row.

“The one thing I would question is… the penalty count must have been 30-10 to us and no yellow cards [for Old Wesley]. That’s a joke from my perspective. I was on the pitch for about 20, 25 minutes and the penalty count was 8-1 and about four of those were in the ’22’.

“There was no yellow card. That for me is criminal. No bitterness towards Wesley but from a refereeing point of view, you have to be consistent and look after that.”

After Josh Pim had edged the hosts back in front, Highfield twice kicked to the corner rather than opting for an equaliser off the kicking tee. Though this gamble didn’t pay off in the end for the Leesiders, Ryan backed his players for trying to secure the maximum reward from the contest.

“As I say to people, there’s no bad decisions there’s just bad execution. We had two line-outs there, we executed them badly. If we collect either of those properly and set up what we’re good at, which is mauling, I feel we’re going to win that game.

“You live and die by the sword in how you play and that’s the way we play. You can imagine if we score, you get a bonus point and a win up here. I would back our lads, back how we play,” Ryan added.

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