After a free week, Rainey Old Boys face a demanding nine week run of AIL and Ulster League games, starting with a home fixture against Leinster side NUIM Barnhall.
With Trevor Brennan on board, the Cellbridge-Leixlip club rose to within one point of Division 1 rugby, but with the surprise departure of Brennan to Toulouse and the economic downturn, the team subsequently slipped down to Division 3. Rainey’s 10-6 victory at Hatrick Park set them up for their great run last season, but Barnhall’s ability to rack up an impressive bonus points tally helped them to clinch automatic promotion on the last day of the 2013 campaign.
The Barnhall club has 700 playing members, which would suggest that the establishment of an alliance with the University of Maynooth is paying dividends. They have consolidated well, with six wins from eight games leaving them in fifth place in the table, right on the heels of the frontrunners. With three of these sides to meet yet, they should have a big say in the promotion race.
Games between Rainey and Barnhall over the last five seasons have thrown up some memorable moments and the crowd on Saturday can look forward to another intriguing installment. Michael Pyper, who contributed handsomely in the victory over Naas, is said to be available for the next two matches, while Nicholas Stirling, Stephen Mulholland and Jody McMurray should be ready to challenge for a place in the matchday squad. The game kicks off at 2.30pm with Rainey III v Derry III and Rainey IV v Enniskillen III.
The Winter Barbecue on Saturday is at 7pm. Young American singer and guitarist Michael Thomas, an outstanding talent, will be serving up the entertainment.