Rainey OB 19-33 City Of Derry
For their home game with City of Derry in the Ulster Senior Championship, Rainey chose to give many of their fringe players some game time and rest others with an important game at Cashel in mind.
Derry, coming into good form after a surprisingly slow start to the season, were at almost full strength and it showed in the last quarter as they took full advantage of some very poor tackling to pull clear for a comfortable victory.
Having just come out on the right side when the sides met in the Ulster Bank League back in September, Rainey will not be too dismayed by this result, but the tackling and untidy lineout play will have given them some food for thought.
Mark O’Connor hit an upright with an early shot at goal, but after eight minutes opened the scoring when indiscipline from the visiturs proved costly.
Big No.8 Ferguson, a real thorn in Rainey’s side in the past, began to make his presence felt with some powerful charges and, with Rainey No.8 O’Neill in the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, Derry upped the tempo to score two converted tries.
A little kick through created the first and Ferguson was allowed to pick up and waltz over from a scrum minutes later.
Rainey replied when the forwards piled through on a loose tap back and out-half Martin cut back towards the touchline to brush off a weak challenge and go through for a soft try only for Ferguson to strike again to restore Derry’s advantage.
Late in the half, Rainey fluffed a clear opportunity when O’Connor broke down the left with only the last line of defence to beat.
But his support carelessly overran him, causing the move to break down.
Derry then introduced their more experienced props to help consolidate their position.
Two penalties from O’Connor brought Rainey to within striking range and when Derry had a forward yellow carded, Rainey, with the breeze behind them, had every chance of going on from there.
But Derry made the most of some awful tackling to score two converted tries in less than ten minutes to settle the issue.
In the final minute,Rainey worked their way into the corner where young second-row Ronan McCusker grabbed a consolation try.
Derry now top this league, though the chasers have at least one game in hand.
Team: R McCluskey, M O’Connor,J McMurray, M McClelland, M Gordon, G Martin, C Fulton, R Squires, A Shaw, N O’Kane, P Stewart, R McCusker, E Shaw, C O’Neill, J Lees.
Replacements: S Rutledge, M Caithness, A Clarke, N Stirling, P Boyle.