IT has been their best ever start to an All Ireland campaign and Rainey OB will be hoping to continue their good run of form this weekend.
The Hattrick Park based side are twelve games unbeaten in the All Ireland league, a run of form which consists of victories from the tail end of last season and this season.
Coach Chris Campbell will be hoping that his squad will be ready for their eagerly anticipated clash with Sundays Well on Saturday.
“We have had a great start to the season and we want to keep this great form going. Last season we had our best ever finish in the All Ireland League and we are looking to improve upon that once again this season.”
Campbell spends each Saturday taking not one but two rugby sides and admits that his weekend is a tiresome one. By day the Rainey OB coach is also a PE teacher at Rainey Endowed where he also takes the schools first fifteen. The link between the rugby club and the school is as strong as it has ever been. In their recent squad which defeated Barnhall, ten of the twenty were former Rainey Endowed pupils.
“The link between the two is growing even stronger. We are encouraging our school players to move on and play for the Old Boys. We are trying to create a local side at Rainey OB. A side generated from local players and guys who have came up through the ranks.”
Campbell has transformed the fortunes of the rugby club on the playing field. A new style of play has been adapted to quickly by the panel and they are producing some impressive results in the league.
“Traditionally Rainey OB would have been a side who would have preferred to utilise the forwards and play rugby through the pack. I played out in the backline myself so I have always been keen to play expansive rugby and make sure the backs see plenty of the action.”
Alongside Campbell in the backroom staff at Hattrick Park is Richard Boyd, assistant coach, Dylan Davies, forwards coach, Graeme Eastwood, 2nd XV coach and Director of Rugby Oliver McShane.
Competing in the All Ireland League is a huge commitment both on and off the field. Often trips to Cork and Tipperary require over night stays prior to the game and without the support of the likes of William Paul and 1st XV manager Ian Lamont, Rainey OB would simply not be able to compete at this level.
“We are indebted to the hard work of several individuals within the club who make it all run smoothly at home and away games. There is no doubt that the long trips can sometimes have an effect on the players but the club look after the 1st XV superbly,” added Campbell.
Campbell believes that the success on the field of play this year has been down the great blend of youth and experience within the panel. He believes the young players have added another dimension to their play.
“Youngsters like Michael Shields, Andrew Harbinson, Nathan Rankin, Peter Wilson, Damien McMurray and Alan Clarke have added a youthful exuberance to the side. Add in the skills of scrum half Peter Sciascia and experienced old heads such as Boyle, Rodney Paul and skipper Simon Hawe, we have a strong competitive panel.”
Campbell is looking forward to the clash with Sundays Well on Saturday and he is hoping that the conditions do not play a large role in the fixture.
“We are a side who favour dry conditions. Sundays Well have a big pack and they will not be afraid to stick the ball up the jumper and hit us through the pack. They are coming for revenge as we beat them on their own turf last year so they will be up for it. We will prepare ourselves for it and look forward to Saturday.”
Rainey take on Cork outfit Sundays Well at Hattrick Park on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick off.