ON Saturday 21st January the ‘David Allingham Forklift Safety Training’ sponsored Rainey ES Medallion made the long journey west, to play Portora RS in the 3rd round of the Northern Bank Medallion Shield. In very windy conditions, open rugby was going to be difficult.
Portora won the toss and decided to play with the wind. Their much bigger pack attacked the Rainey eight but their defence held firm. The front row of Mark Allingham, Conor Stobo and Callum Gilfillan worked extremely hard to keep the home side out. Rainey unfortunately lost Eoghan Bradley to injury, although he was replaced by Matthew Mulholland.
However, after about 15 minutes the pressure told and Portora scored a converted try. With a 7 point lead they continued to pressure the Rainey line. But some great tackling kept them out. Andrew Conway and Neil Morton both made try saving tackles. When the half time whistle went the Rainey coaches were relieved to be only one score down. With the wind at their backs a confident Rainey side went on the attack. Rainey were hoping to get some good ball to bring their dangerous backs, Mark Rooney, Rory Nicholl and Andrew Nicholl into play. But Portora had upped their game and Rainey were finding it difficult to get clean ball. Scott Campbell was doing his utmost to get the Rainey side going forward, but Portora were making life really difficult. Then came the ‘sucker punch’. Against the run of play a Portora player broke from defence to score under the posts to extend their lead to 14-0.
To their credit Rainey came straight back at the hosts. Strong running from Timmy Shields, Jack Donaghy and Calvin Smyth almost resulted in Rainey’s first score. The introduction of Anton Lupari gave Rainey a lift and he also made good ground on occasions. After a break by outhalf Mark Rooney, Matthew Carleton was stopped short, but Calvin Smyth followed up to score Rainey’s only try. The conversion was missed to leave the score 14-5. Shortly after the final whistle sounded to give Portora a hard earned victory.
Great praise should be given to the Rainey squad and coaches Michael Sargent, Noel Sargent and Matthew McClelland. This team has made great progress since September and have really matured into a very good side. We wish them well in the Northern Bank Medallion Bowl.
Saturday’s other fixtures were against Bangor GS. The ‘P Keenan Road Surfacing’ sponsored 1st XV after last week’s great cup win hosted Bangor GS. A very big and physical Bangor side won 19-7. The home side put in some periods of good play, but can be excused for having one eye on the next round of the cup. A try from Jonathan Lees and a Martin Connolly penalty completed Rainey’s scoring. The 2nd XV faired much better running out 20-17 winners. A hatrick of tries by Odhran McCloy and one from Conal Murphy helped them record this fine victory.
In Bangor the U14 XV lost 22-5 with Andrew Brown scoring the Rainey try. The U13A lost 26-14 with the tries coming from Marcus Kelso and Matthew Porter. Adam Patrick added two conversions. The U13B produced a super performance away from home to win 5-0. William Drennan scored the games only try.
Everyone at Rainey Rugby sends their best wishes to Mr C Simpson as he recovers in hospital from knee surgery. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
This Saturday the 28th September cup rugby returns to Rainey with the 1st XV playing Belfast Royal Academy in the 3rd round of the Northern Bank Schools Cup. The kick off is at 10.30am and a large home support would be much appreciated. In Saturday other fixtures the Medallion, U14, U13A and U13B host Campbell College, Belfast. The kick offs are at 10.00am and they would also appreciate some support. On Friday 27th September the U12 A, B and C teams travel to play Grosvenor GS, Belfast. Kick offs at 2.30pm.