THE weather on Saturday 17th December decimated the majority of the rugby fixtures at Rainey ES. Only the 1st and 2nd XV fixtures survived the conditions. The ‘P Keenan Road Surfacing’ sponsored 1st XV travelled to Holywood to play Sullivan Upper School. The Magherafelt boys started brightly and put Sullivan under early pressure. They confidently turned down some early penalty opportunities but the home defence prevented them from crossing the line.
After 20 minutes however, Martin Connolly kicked a penalty to give them a 3 point lead. Sullivan then began to press but the Rainey defence held firm. Good close quarter work from Gary Monaghan, Michael Nevin and Jack McCalmont made life very difficult for the home side.
With the weather deteriorating a Sullivan break in midfield led to their first score; this gave them a 7-3 lead. Rainey continued to play sensible rugby in the conditions with half backs Oisin Quinn and Arran Murphy keeping Rainey on the front foot. The second half began with Rainey again on the attack, backs John Stewart, Odhran McCloy and Jamie Noble threatened on occasions.
Rainey were rewarded with their first try when Damien Devlin drove over. Martin Connolly converted to give Rainey a 10-7 lead. Sullivan came back immediately but great defence from Ryan Brown and Diarmuid Devlin prevented Sullivan scores. For the next period the game was finely balanced with both sides producing excellent play in extremely cold conditions. The Rainey back row off, Jonathan Lees, Mark Kavanagh and Thomas Booth worked tirelessly.
Unfortunately for the local boys Sullivan got a second converted score which gave them a 14-10 lead. In the final minutes Rainey tried hard to to get the winning score but the Sullivan defence held firm. Although beaten, this was a really encouraging performance from Rainey and one than should give them loads of encouragement as they prepare for the Northern Bank Schools Cup on the 14th January. The 2nd XV lost to Sullivan 24-3, with Gavin Pollock kicking a penalty.
The ‘David Allingham Forklift Safety Training’ sponsored Rainey ES Medallion have just returned from a 5 day tour of London. They departed on Wednesday 7th December but very inclement weather conditions on the Irish Sea meant because of delays their first game against King Edward’s School, Stratford had to be cancelled. On Thursday after a tough training session they went to Twickenham to watch the Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Oxford won an exciting game 28-10. The following day included a vigorous training session in the morning. After this they travelled into London to do some of the sights and to have a little retail therapy in Oxford Street. On Saturday they travelled to Sevenoaks to play the local school. They put in a fabulous performance in this game beating a team who were a year older than them. They eventually ran out 46-0 winners. The try scorers were Andrew Conway (3), Neil Morton (2), Mark Rooney, Eoghan Bradley and Andrew Nicholl. Mark Rooney kicked 3 conversions.
After super hospitality from their hosts they travelled to Wembley to watch Saracens play the Ospreys in the Heineken Cup. This proved to be an excellent game with Saracens winning 31-26. The following day they got out of bed early and made the long trek home.
Thanks are due to Mr Simpson for all his organisation and Miss Johnson, Miss McLaughlin, Mr N Sargent, Mr M Sargent and Mr G Eastwood who accompanied the squad on tour and made the tour a real success.
The ‘David Allingham Forklift Safety Training’ sponsored Rainey ES Medallion have been drawn away to Bangor GS in the 2nd round of the Medallion Shield. This game will take place on Saturday 7th January, kick off at 11.45am. All support is very welcome.