ON Wednesday 23rd November the ‘P Keenan Road Surfacing’ sponsored Rainey ES Senior Rugby squad left on their annual rugby tour. They left school early in the morning as they were playing their first game of the tour in Dublin against De la Salle, Churchtown. This was anticipated to be a difficult game, as De la Salle had twice won the Leinster Schools Cup in a three year spell in the 1980’s.
After a long bus journey, the Rainey 1st XV, still missing quite a few regulars through injury, started brightly and made De la Salle defend for long periods. This pressure was soon rewarded with an Oisin Quinn try. Martin Connolly converted to give Rainey a 7-0 lead.
The visitors continued to dominate and after good work from Jonathan Lees, Jack McCalmont drove over for a second try. Martin Connolly converted to increase Rainey’s lead to 14-0. With the Rainey pack on top half time gave the home side a chance to regroup. The second half started with Rainey back on the offensive. However, many good scoring opportunities were squandered by poor decision making. De la Salle seemed to gain some confidence from this and in a short time scored 10 points, with a penalty, try and conversion.
With the score now reduced to 14-10 and entering the final quarter it was anybody’s game. Rainey, however, to their credit regrouped and under the leadership of captain Thomas Booth overcame the set back. They continued to play attacking rugby and the backline worked a super move to put Chris Moffett over for their third try. Martin Connolly converted to leave the score 21-10. Rainey finished the game on top and won a game they thoroughly deserved, although they have to be careful not to let complacency enable opponents to get back into games.
The 2nd XV also defeated De la Salle, Churchtown, scoring seven tries in the process. The try scorers were Odhran McCloy (2), Barry Wilkinson (2), John Stewart, Captain Matthew McNabb and Gavin Pollock. Gavin Pollock also kicked 1 conversion to give them a 37-7 victory. This game was unfortunately marred by the serious leg injury to Stephen Fullerton.
Stephen was playing his first game on return from a broken hand, but unfortunately for both Stephen and the squad he now faces a further long lay-off. Everyone at Rainey rugby wishes Stephen well.
The squad then sailed the next morning to Holyhead where they transferred to Manchester for the remainder of the tour. After some light training on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning they went on a guided tour of Old Trafford and they went to Edgely Park to watch Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs play in the Aviva Premiership. On Saturday morning they played their second school on tour, Altincham Grammar School. The 1st XV played out a really exciting game, which was end to end. It was interesting to compare the two different styles, with the hosts keen to ruck and Rainey trying to off load at every opportunity.
Rainey eventually came out on top with a 33-22 win. Try scorers were Jack McCalmont, Gary Monaghan, Oisin Quinn, Chris Moffett and Jamie Noble. Marin Connolly kicked four conversions. The 2nd XV were unfortunately defeated 19-0. After the game the squad travelled to the Reebok Stadium to watch Bolton play Everton in the Barclay’s Premiership. Many tired boys and members of staff returned home the following day. Thanks are due to everyone who accompanied the squad on tour and in particular Mr Simpson for his organisation. Also to De la Salle, Churchtown and Altrincham Grammar School for their super hospitality.
On Saturday 26th November the Rainey junior teams hosted Omagh Academy. Unfortunately, Omagh could only field ‘A’ teams. The ‘David Allingham Forklift Safety Training’ sponsored Rainey ES Medallion got back to winning ways with a 48-7 win. Tries from Mark Rooney (2), Calvin Smyth (2), Scott Campbell, Neil Morton, Andrew Nicholl and Rory Nicholl gave them a fantastic platform. Mark Rooney also kicked four conversions.
The Under 14 and Under 13 XVs were both under strength this week and consequently suffered defeats. The Under 14s lost 17-7, with a try from Matthew Mulholland and conversion from Lorcan Quinn and the Under 13s lost 19-7, with a try from Adam Currie.
This Saturday’s fixtures are against RS Armagh. The 1st and 2nd XVs are away. The 3rd XV are at home to Ballyclare HS in the 1st round of the 3rd XV cup. The Medallion, U14 XV and U13 XV are at home. The home Kick offs are at 10.15am. All support welcome.