The squad that won the All-Ireland Junior Cup and clinched a place in Senior rugby ten years ago were guests at Hatrick Park on Saturday when Rainey Old Boys met Seapoint in the last game of their league campaign.
With a play-off game against Wanderers coming up on April 16, Rainey were obviously keen to build on their recent fine performance at Barnhall, but, after totally dominating the first twenty-five minutes, they reverted to type, switching off almost completely and making all kinds of mistakes as they tried to chase the game.
Seapoint, with only one point to show for their efforts in the league, grew in confidence as Rainey went from bad to worse and in the end were good value for their 20-15 victory.
Rainey used to be difficult to beat at home.
They now appear to get nervous at the prospect. Let’s hope that they can rise to the occasion on April 16 and qualify to meet either Tullamore or Bruff on April 23.
The retiring Neil O’Kane,a key figure in a long and very successful career,led the team onto the park and it was he who put them on the front foot.
Seapoint were run ragged as Rainey moved them from wing to wing, but Mc Cusker had a try ruled out for a double movement.
Short of Barker,Lees and Damien Mc Murray, Rainey poured through some feeble tackling to go 3-0 up after ten minutes with a 35-yard penalty from McIlroy.
Straight from the restart, out-half Pyper, available for the first time since before Christmas, broke blind to kick over the last line of defence.
Seapoint did well to scramble back and clear, but when play moved acrossfield, scrum-half Wilson picked up the loose ball to take off along the touchline and evade two tackles to score in the corner.
But things were to change dramatically.
The visitors reduced the deficit to 8-3 with a penalty and Wilson was yellow carded for the way he tried to dig the ball out from the back of a ruck with his foot.
Seapoint scored a converted try to take the lead and then struck again when their out-half glided through unchallenged from a scrum in midfield to touch down at the posts.
A penalty late in the half gave Seapoint a 20-8 lead.
Some careless passing and aimless kicking prevented Rainey from making any real impact,even if they did continue to dominate territorially. They did manage to get to within striking range on a few occasions, but were thwarted by some resilient defence.
With fifteen minutes remaining, the referee, on seeing a hand in a ruck on the Seapoint line, awarded Rainey a penalty try to rekindle home hopes.
The dying minutes saw no change, with Seapoint holding on comfortably for a morale -boosting win.
Annual General Meeting - Thursday, April 28 at 8.00 P.M.