Rugby: Rainey Old Boys miss cup semi-finals by a point

Rainey's Gavin Martin in action. INMM3915-341
Rainey's Gavin Martin in action. INMM3915-341

Both Rainey Old Boys and Queen’s University were short of key players when they met in the second round of the Senior Cup at Hatrick Park, the Magherafelt men losing by a solitary point.

Conditions were perfect for the healthy crowd who had come out for official switching on of the floodlights.

Joining the regulars at the pre-match dinner were a number of guests and sponsors as well as Ulster Branch representatives Stephen Hilditch and Bobby Stewart.

While the rugby was never of a high standard, it turned out to be an interesting contest.

Unfortunately, an injury caused a delay and, when further medical assistance was summoned, Rainey conceded the game to the opposition who led 25-24.

Queen’s join Ballynahinch, Ballymena and Belfast Harlequins in the last four. It was later confirmed that the injured player - Rainey and Ulster U20 second-row Ronan Mc Cusker - was, thankfully, not badly injured and should be back in action soon.

That Rainey were in the game at all around the hour mark was a real surprise for they could do little right in the early stages. All their old failings were there: indiscipline, conceding penalties at regular intervais, and giving the ball away.

Queen’s had, as usual, pace to burn behind the scrum and Rainey played into their hands with their loose kicking.

Three tries to a penalty had the students 22-3 ahead before the Rainey pack managed to get out of first gear.

When it was Queen’s turn to have a player sin-binned, Rainey piled on the pressure and were rewarded when No.8 Corrigan scored with wing McIlroy converting.

Just before the break further pressure saw McIlroy go in at the corner. He added the points with a lovely kick to reduce the deficit to only five points.

Rainey made some positional switches behind the scrum and started the second half well, but McIlroy pulled a shot at goal wide.

Jody McMurray broke from his 22’ and kicked ahead when he felt the opposition catching him. Unfortunately, the ball rolled into touch. But minutes later, they were awarded a penalty near the Queen’s line and hooker Roe darted over when he spotted a little gap.

When Corrigan became the fourth player to be shown the yellow card, the penalty saw Queen’s edge back in front.

Rainey are at Armagh this week and on October 31 entertain Dungannon in the Ulster Bank League.

Rainey Old Boys: G. Martin, J. McIlroy, D. Mc Murray, J. McMurray, P.J. O’Neill, S. McLean, A. Donaghy, K. Donaghy, J. Roe, R. McCusker, P. Stewart, R. Winters, D. Corrigan, J. Lees. Replacements: N. O’Kane, P. Boyle, J. Higgins, A. Mc Swiggan.