RAINEY Old Boys face three crucial fixtures prior to Christmas as they hope to keep up their fantastic form this season. On Saturday the Old Boys welcome Dublin outfit, Suttonians to Hatrick Park. It has been a superb start to the season for the Magherafelt based outfit and after four wins and a draw from their first five games of the new season.
Rainey have injury doubts over Neil O’Kane and Peter Stewart. Stewart is still a number of weeks away from action as he recovers from an arm injury. O’Kane is optimistic of featuring in the Christmas run in. Rainey will be missing the experienced full back Rodney Paul who is unavailable this weekend.
On 3rd December, Rainey face Ulster rivals Banbridge, in a clash which will see two contrasting styles meet. Banbridge under Simon McKinstry are a side built around a massive pack and they tend to prefer playing through the forwards. On the other hand, Rainey prefer to play more expansive style of rugby and they will be hoping that their backs will be on form. The only side to have defeated Banbridge this season are current league leaders Cashel.
On December 10th, Rainey travel to Strandhill.S ligo where they meet the Westerners at Hamilton Park. They have yet to win a game, but a series of narrow defeats has brought them four bonus points.
Returning to senior rugby after being relegated in 1998, they were dominant in Connacht last season with a number of Eastern Europeans in their ranks.
For the second week running ,Rainey O.B. 3rd XV squandered a decent lead to throw away a game that could easily have been won. At a dark Hatrick Park, they took an early lead against Omagh 3 when Devlin sent supporting flanker McIvor clear on the outside.
Out-half Irvine added the points from in front of the posts. He made it 13-0 before the end of the opening quarter with two penalties, the second from 50 yards.
Omagh improved as the incessant rain made conditions treacherous and just before the break they scored from a scrum after being held up. Rainey’s Bob Paul was sin-binned at this juncture.
After 48 minutes, Omagh struck again from a five metre scrum to reduce the deficit and Rainey were unable to build up any momentum as they conceded too many penalties and failed to make their mark in the lineout. They tried to run the ball in horrible weather when they had chances to play the corners and found themselves trailing when Omagh picked up their third try after 73 minutes. Largely through the efforts of full-back Moran, the homesters could have sneaked the points when they were awarded two penalties in the last minute, but Irvine pushed both kicks wide from the 22’.
The lead changed several times at Hatrick Park where Rainey O.B. 4th XV rallied to beat Portadown 5 by 17-13 in the rain. While the kicking was poor, the tackling could not be faulted and the Rainey pack stood up well to a much taller and heavier Portadown eight. Play swung from end to end, wing Scullion putting Rainey 5-0 up and the visitors levelling before half-time.
Portadown went in front, but centre McElhone replied for Rainey with Walker adding the points. A silly penalty looked like proving costly, but a late try from centre Martin gave Rainey a hard-earned win. Full-back McVey slotted in well on his return to rugby.
Fixtures - Saturday 26th November
1st XV V Suttonians (H) 2.30pm
2nd XV V Ophir (H)
4th XV V Banbridge 5 (A)
With the last kick of the game, Clogher Valley beat Rainey 6-5 in the Under 19 League at Meadowbank. Rainey had led with a try from flanker McCullagh and spurned the opportunity to kick two close range penalties as they dominated most of the second half.
They were made to regret this poor decision making when Clogher worked their way upfield to earn a last gasp chance of stealing the points.
Rainey OB Youth results for Saturday. 19th November. It was another successful weekend for Rainey Youth; Under 17 - Rainey 32 Instonians 19 Under 15 – Rainey 64 Ards 10 Under 13 – Rainey 32 Lurgan 13
This weekend Sat 26th November Youth fixtures U17 Limavaday Away U15 Ophir Away and U13 Ophir Away all games 11ko
There is a table quiz for the Hockey Club this evening (Thursday 24th November) at 9.00 p.m.
On Thursday, 1 December and 8 December there will be a first aid training course ( 7-00 until 10.00 p.m. ) in the clubhouse. Attendance is free and a number of first aid kits will be given out to those present. To register, contact Oliver McShane 07968341251.