Rainey Old Boys RFC Notes: II XV Get Off To A Winning Start At Ards RFC – II XV 36 v Ards RFC II XV 5 + III XV Report & Pictures From The George Tees Tournament – LIVE HERE

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Rainey 2s Get Off To A Winning Start At Ards

As would be expected, the first game of the season nerves, the invariably unpredictability of Ards 2s, and the nine debutants in an altogether new-look Rainey side made for a considerable amount of uncertainty for new seconds coach Damien Campbell going into his first Seconds League match, however the conditions at Hamiliton Park could not have been better for a game of rugby to kick-start the campaign.

When the game kicked off, the Magherafelt men quickly settled in and their determination to take control of this game was illustrated from the beginning when debutant flanker Jonny Lees smashed an Ards second row with the first hit of the game. Then, after being camped in the Ards 22’ for the first 3 minutes, Rainey were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Paul Dillon had no problem slotting over with his ever-flawless boot, as he showed on so many occasions last season. Ards 0 – 3 Rainey O.B..

The next 15 minutes or so was slightly frustrating for the Magherafelt men, as they continued to boss Ards in set-plays and around the fringes, however perhaps because of a few niggling injuries amongst the backs, despite the perfectly dry pitch they could not keep hold of the ball and string enough phases together to cause any major threat. However, under the leadership of their new skipper Richard Michael, the team stuck at it, not letting frustration surface, and this refreshing patience paid off on 20 minutes when a nicely worked backs move down the blind-side saw one debutant Oisin Quinn put another debutant Nicholas Sterling through a gap in the mid-field and the evasive centre strolled over for the first try of the season. Dillon’s conversion made it 0 – 10 Rainey O.B..

Another period of determined Ards defence, and frustrating errors from Rainey followed, and with the home crowd and a strong wind behind them, Ards began to get back into the game. Their centres linked very well on a number of occasions, and only some exemplary resilient tackling from flankers Calvin Kernohan and Jonny Lees, amongst other, Ards may have had a number of opportunities to get over the Rainey line themselves. But Rainey’s defence stayed solid, and they fended off considerable pressure from Ards for 15 minutes. However, just before half-time Ards illusive centre completed a magnificent solo effort out of nothing to catch Rainey’s defence off-guard and touch down between the posts. Unbelievably Ards missed the centre-post conversion and the score was 5 – 10 Rainey O.B. at half-time.

Campbell’s first ever half-time talk as seconds coach was simply to tidy up the mistakes, and stay patient and the game was there for the taking. The back-line was also re-shuffled and Oisin Quinn, who was already having a particularly good game, was moved from 10 into a much more familiar scrum-half role, where he would come into his own and take complete control of the game for the rest of the match. The experienced Jody McMurry moved into 10, giving him the opportunity to command with his invaluable leadership qualities.

From the beginning of the second-half Rainey started to get the rewards for all the hard-work they have been putting in during pre-season, and their superior fitness and physical condition let them have complete control of the match for the next 40 minutes. On 43’, an opportunistic quick tap from McMurry created a massive overlap on the left with an abundance of eager Rainey players, and some great handling from debutants Adam Kirk (prop), and make-shift centre Chris Fowler took Rainey into within 3 metres of Ards line. Another penalty pursued and the alert Oisin Quinn fed Jonny Lees who beat 5 defenders to drift across the line and give Rainey some breathing space. Another Dillon penalty made it 5 – 17 Rainey O.B..

From then on, Rainey played all the rugby and there was some great handling and attacking skills shown by Sterling, McMurry, Kernahan, Lees and Quinn, who now had no doubts about where the Ards weaknesses were and he was enjoying exploiting these to the admiration of the traveling support. Even an injury, which brought Rainey down to 14 men, did not seem to have any negative impact on the away side, who gradually got more and more into their stride as the game went on. On 65 minutes a cheeky kick in behind from a penalty by Quinn caught Ards completely off-guard and when the Ards full-back could not tidy up, the young Rainey 9 managed to gather his own kick and become the 3rd debutant to get his name on the score sheet. Dillon’s conversation took the score to 5 – 24 Rainey O.B..

On 75 a further period of pressure gave Rainey yet another penalty on the Ards 5m line, and again Quinn’s quick tap left Rainey players queuing up to score on the blind side, and second row Ruiri Coleman happily obliged. 5 – 29 Rainey O.B..

There was time for one more score just before the final whistle, and for the 4th time in the game, this score came from another quick tap. As Ards defence began to struggle with the sharpness of the much fitter Rainey side, another overlap was created and Nicholas Sterling finished off a terrific team effort for his second try of the game after a move where nearly every player in the team got to contribute. In typical style, Paul Dillon’s reliable kicking completed the scoring with a conversion from the corner to take the final score to 5 – 36 Rainey O.B..

A terrific display all-round to begin the season for Rainey 2s, and whilst we are under no illusion that there will be many more tougher challenges ahead in what is always a daunting fixture list, this team performance and great result should give Damien Campbell’s squad a great platform to build from and the confidence this young side needs to fulfil their potential this season.

Rainey Old Boys RFC III XV Report from George Tees Tournament
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Rainey took a squad of 25 to the annual Tees Tournament in Derry. Beating Coleraine 2s 5-0 with Mark Montgomery claiming the score. The lads went on to demolish Ballymoney 3s 20-0, stalwart Declan McKenna barging over for the final score the final score after tries from Daultach Johnston, Mark Donnelly and Gavin McGuckin. The final game would see the winner progress to the final. Omagh 2s took an early lead and doubled there try tally before the half. Rainey brought on their senior players who turned things around, Mark Montgomery scoring his second of the day. Rainey came close several times but with only lasting 12 minutes, they ran out of time. Creggs of Roscommon beat Omagh in the final . 5-0.

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