Larne III XV 22 v Rainey 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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3rds Dig Deep For First Away Win Of The Season

On Saturday 3rd October, Larne 3rds travelled to Rainey, Magherafelt for their first away game of the season to come out 12-22 winners.

The 3rds, usually in abundance and selection headaches, suffered a bad week for getting players with severe depletion of unavailabilities and injuries, but managed to gather a squad of 16 players to travel to Rainey.

With some players experiencing their first game of the season and players out in new positions, Larne couldn’t afford to take the foot off the pedal against a side like Rainey.

Rainey kicked the game off and from the start, hard running from forwards of Johnston, Jamison and McNee set the pace on how the game was to be dictated. From a few set phases, it wasn’t long before the gap opened up for Larne scrum half Andrew O’Toole, picking the ball up from a ruck and squeezing through for a 35m sprint under the posts, showing the pace of days gone by. Conversion by Burleigh.

Larne, boosted by the good start kept in front through more phases of play and line breaks by centre combination of Abernethy and Murray, gained vital possession to keep Rainey in their own half. However, Geoff McKinty sprinted through for an unconverted try to give Larne a small lead with 0-12 up.

Rainey proved themselves better through the set pieces, getting the better of the Larne scrum on a number of occasions to rob the backs of clean ball. A Rainey break was halted through Shirley with a superb ankle tap and the first half finished at 0-12.

Larne kicked off the second half, but faced an upward battle being 1 man down with G. Hardy sidelined with a knock, to which Rainey responded immediately with space out to the right to score a converted try. 7-12.

Although Larne’s forwards of Gingles, McNee and Mckinty turned numerous balls over at the rucks, penalties inside the Larne 22 creped up and Rainey quickly tapped the penalty when Larne had their backs against them to get their second score of the game, but unconverted. 12-12.

Dented by their hard work Larne’s short restart worked well when McKinty rose up to regain ball for the visitors. Further hard runs from Abernethy and Murray broke the Rainey defence and were rewarded with a penalty. Larne having the momentum with them, looked to go for the corner, but Captain Johnston, having seeing the English chariots crash and burn under pressure the week before, opted to go for the posts and take 3 points. McKinty stepping up and slotting the penalty, 12-15.

Larne were back up to 15 on the return of Hardy when Rainey down by 3 points, but not out of the game altogether, hit back in a flurry of attempts on the Larne try line but held up by Burleigh, Gingles and Jamison to deny the home side a third score. However they were unfortunate not to score on the right side from a sweeping left to right move that saw the winger in space, but dropped the ball. Larne lucky not to be down themselves.

With the penalty count rising, Larne took advantage of McKinty’s big boot and pinned Rainey back into their own half. He soon raced through for his second try of the day and a final conversion left the score at 12-22 to the Larne side.

An extremely competitive and physical game for both sides, that could’ve saw either team take the result. Credit to Rainey for their set piece game and hospitality up in the bar. The favour will be returned on the visit to the Glynn for the Rainey men.

Larne 3rds: G. Hardy, C. Smyth, S. Johnston (c), G. Jamison, J. McNee, J. Gingles, G. McKinty, S. McWhirter, A. O’Toole, C. Burleigh, C. Sheridan, J. Abernethy, A. Murray, C. Magil, J. Shirley, S. Meikle

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