IN A sensational finish at Parsonstown, Rainey Old Boys conjured up a superb try out of nothing to snatch a 20-18 victory which left the home crowd shell-shocked.
NUIM Barnhall were in control up front, but made a careless little mistake which was to prove very costly.
The last play of an incident-packed encounter saw Rainey having to attack from inside their own 22. Young centre McMurray cruised through a gap to find forwards Heaney and Dawson in support and the latter stepped inside before switching play outside again to wing Clarke who scorched down the touchline to plunge over in the corner. The conversion attempt was the last kick of the game.
With Stewart now added to the injured list with an elbow problem and Shiels on the bench, Rainey found themselves pinned in their own half early on as Barnhall used the wind and their big pack to totally dominate the first ten minutes.
The pressure told when the Kildare side’s backs sliced through with alarming ease to open the scoring. Rainey could not get into the game, but drew level after seventeen minutes with a stunning try.
No.8 Hawe fielded a high kick and fed Sciascia who broke wide before throwing out a long pass to McMurray who did well to hold on to the ball. He transferred to midfield colleague McBride who cut inside for a lovely score.
As often happens, Rainey conceded a silly penalty straight from the restart, failing to claim the drop out and then straying in front of the ball. But within a minute they were celebrating another brilliant try when McBride set it up, the ball was moved wide to second row Rankin who showed great pace to offload to Clarke.The newcomer from Coleraine, who is settling in well in the squad along with a number of other young lads, flew down the wing for McMurray to accept his inside pass ten yards out.
But Rainey were unable to go on and assert their authority, making far too many unforced errors.
The Barnhall forwards kept Sciascia very quiet and showed up Rainey’s deficiencies to regain the lead on 31 minutes with their second try. Trailing 15-12,Rainey strove to get their noses in front before the interval. Flanker Harbinson set them going forward, but McBride was ushered wide and a catch and drive looked promising until an infuriating little knock-on halted their progress in the Barnhall 22’.
The Old Boys made a bright start to the second half, but little handling errors continued to blight them.
They looked sure to score when Hawe headed into the 22’ with Sciascia on his shoulder, but the match officials failed to notice an off the ball challenge on Wilson as the Rainey wing moved in to await a scoring pass.
Rainey made three changes up front as their scrum wilted under pressure which should have brought Barnhall points. The wind had dropped to add to Rainey’s problems, but they managed to get their hands on the ball long enough for Hawe to pick up from a scrum after 62 minutes and force a penalty which Martin kicked.
Both sides missed kicks at goal before a drop goal gave Barnhall the lead after 77 minutes. Prospects of a Rainey comeback looked remote as they made little impression, but a careless knock-on at the base of a scrum proved to be Barnhall’s undoing.
Three minutes into time added on, Rainey full-back Paul started the counter attack which earned them an unexpected three points.
Team: R.Paul, A.Clarke, J.Mc Bride, D.McMurray, P.Wilson, G.Martin, P.Sciascia, S.McDowell, S.Sufferin, P.Boyle, D.Dawson, N.Rankin, A.Harbinson, P.Heaney, S.Hawe.
Replacements : M.Shiels (Harbinson 47) R.Hall (McDowell 54) K.Donaghy (Sufferin 54) R.Devlin (Sciascia 70)
Rainey O.B. 3rd XV made home advantage count as they defeated City of Derry 3 38-18 in Junior 4.Wing Andrew Campbell, striving to get a run of outings under his belt after injury, helped himself to three tries with Paddy Kidd and Bob Paul also getting in on the act. Kenny Irvine kicked all the conversions as well as a penalty.
The Fourths were in action at Mullaghmeen where Enniskillen 3rd XV beat them 60-16. The usual loss of players on a Friday night left them with only thirteen men, but they competed well in the first half before understandably running out of steam. Hooker O’Brien scored their try, while wing Walker landed the conversion and three penalties.
Fixtures for Saturday 22nd October.
2nd XV v BALLYSHANNON Conference 4 (H) 2.30 p.m.
3rd XV v COLERAINE 4 (A)
4th XV v BALLYNAHINCH 7 (H)
Table Quiz - Friday night from 9.00 p.m. Questionmaster - Barry Devlin. All proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Members are encouraged to come along and support this great cause. You can bring your friends or join another team. Great entertainment guaranteed.