Seapoint 39-35 Rainey OB -
A try in the final play gave Rainey Old Boys two bonus points at Kilbogget Park, Killiney, where the backdrop of Sugar Loaf mountain and the Wicklow Hills was more dramatic than the bizarre offering that the spectators had to watch.
Seapoint were pleased to open their account with a 39-35 victory, with Rainey only too happy to snatch two points.
But, in all honesty, this was an untidy affair from start to finish. Even allowing for their injury problems, Rainey will concede that they can do much better than this.
With Woods and Simpson joining those in the treatment room and Clarke tweaking a hamstring in the pre-match warm-up, they introduced three more totally new faces, further reducing the average age of an already very youthful matchday squad.
Late replacement McClelland’s first minute try gave Rainey the perfect start, but they sat back and allowed Seapoint to dictate.
A turnover in midfield saw the Leinster side move it wide, forcing Lees and then McCloskey into important tackles.
But Seapoint stole lineout possession to maul their way over, an earlier penalty getting them off the mark.
They added another try as Rainey found themselves chasing shadows. Full-back McCloskey reduced the deficit to 15-8, but Rainey struggled in the lineout and failed to establish control.
On the half hour, Rainey won a scrum on their 22’, but the forwards did not keep the drive on, presenting problems for Gibson at the base.
When out-half Emerson finally received the pass, he had opponents coming at him from all angles and a charge down left them 20-8 in arrears. Late in the half, Rainey introduced Ulster Under 20 front-row men Squires and Shaw to the fray.
The wind that Rainey now had in their favour began to drop and gradually die and long before the end it had swung around to benefit Seapoint again.
McCloskey brought his side back into the picture with two penalties, but they did not make the most of a promising opportunity which arose out of a Seapoint mistake.
When Emerson was caught in two minds, Seapoint romped through from 35 yards for a killer score beneath the posts after 57 minutes.
The next saga in a very strange affair saw McCloskey find the supporting Gordon on his inside and the powerful little left-wing dotted down at the posts.
Seapoint held on to their six point advantage as Rainey’s lineout continued to malfunction and their defence held firm.
When the South Dubliners struck again after 69 minutes, it was obvious that it was not going to be Rainey’s day. Two minutes from time, O’Kane was taken down just short and a Seapoint forward yellow carded.
Boyle crashed over for the try, but Seapoint went straight down to the other end to put the issue beyond doubt.
In time added on, a scrum had to be reset three times, yet the referee played on and the last play of the game saw Rutledge have a go before Jody McMurray, now operating at Number 8 found a gap which brought them two points which they scarcely deserved.
Team: R McCloskey, M McClelland, J McMurray, D McMurray, M Gordon, T Emerson, S Gibson, S Rutledge, J Roe, N O’Kane, T Barker, P Stewart, S Mackie, P Boyle, J Lees.
Replacements: R Squires, A Shaw, C Murphy, G Martin.