Towns Cup thriller as Derry edge Rainey

Rainey's Matthew McClelland breaks for the Clogher Valley line at Hatrick Park in the Derek Lee Memorial match last Saturday.mm34-361sr
Rainey's Matthew McClelland breaks for the Clogher Valley line at Hatrick Park in the Derek Lee Memorial match last Saturday.mm34-361sr
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City of Derry II 27

Rainey II 26

City of Derry progressed to the quarter final of the Towns Cup thanks to a thrilling, but well deserved, victory over Rainey II in a game that ebbed and followed throughout.

Rainey played their best rugby of the season in the first half, scoring three tries.

The first from McClelland who formed a useful partnership with McGlaughlin in the centre.

Some superb offloading helped scrum-half Donaghy to the first of his two tries as No.8 Paul Heaney again confirmed that he is more than ready to return at 1st XV level.

Derry eventually settled and from broken play centre Paddy Blennerhassett kicked through and scored an unconverted try.

Rainey responded straight from the restart, setting up a series of rucks inside the Derry 22 where poor defence around the fringe allowed the visiting prop Ian Hutchinson to go over for 19-5.

On the stroke of half-time a kick and chase saw Derry winger Adam Blair beat the cover defence and dive over with Richard Peoples converting for a half time score of 19-12.

The introduction of Gareth ‘Shinner’ Beattie at the start of the second half saw the Derry pack totally dominate.

The second half was just eight minutes old when a storming run by Bob McKillop saw him link with Peoples who powered over and converted himself to level the game.

Peoples then gave his side the lead when he slotted a penalty from 30m after Rainey were penalised for a high tackle and Derry’s lead was 22-19.

The game was there for the taking but it was the Rainey who regained the lead with six minutes remaining when they scored a converted try through second-row McKernan, converted by full-back Dillon, to edge in front by 26-22.

Derry continued pressing and with two minutes remaining they were awarded a penalty and Peoples kicked to the corner for a line out.

‘Man of the Match’ Johnny Lyons won the ball and set up a maul. Two of the Derry backs joined in and drove Rainey over their line with winger Adam Blair touching down for his second try to give the home side the lead and victory.

But a thrilling contest was not quite over yet; when Rainey won ruck ball in midfield some 35 yards out, a lazy runner got in the way as Donaghy sought half-back partner Cassidy. Rainey obviously expected a penalty award to be the consequence, but the referee turned a blind eye to it.

FIXTURES

Saturday February 9

Armagh v Rainey Old Boys

Rainey II v Harlequins II

Rainey IV v Donaghadee III