Trailing 23-12 at half-time, Dungannon hit back to snatch the lead in the closing minutes and even pick up a try scoring bonus point with a last minute effort which sealed a 32-23 victory.
Rainey chose to give some of their emerging young prospects a run out in their Ulster League game at Hatrick Park where the boot of O’Connor had them 6-0 up after seven minutes.
Dungannon replied when the advantage law was applied and they sneaked over from close range. Rainey bounced back when a catch and drive attempt led to a penalty try being awarded.They then added a penalty before conceding the most bizarre of tries which was the result of a catalogue of careless mistakes. The try scorer could scarcely believe his luck.
Young prop Tommy O’Hagan was introduced for his first taste of senior rugby and he wasted no time in showing his potential as did Ronan McCusker whose lineout work and loose play marked him down as another for the future.
O’Connor made it 16-12, but was off target when flanker Fritz made an incisive little break. Big forwards Mitchell and Mc Gowan frequently caught the eye, but the control was just not there.
Right on half-time, however, they managed to put it together for left-wing Sterling to finish off a crossfield counter-attack which O’Connor launched with a lovely long pass to oncoming full-back Cassidy. A finely judged conversion left Rainey 23-12 up at half-time.
Rainey created some real chances in the third quarter, but failed to come away with points. Dungannon reduced the deficit when Rutledge was harshly penalised, but they missed another chance as Rainey found it difficult to make any headway against the wind.
David Dawson came on for his first outing since mid-September joining brother Michael who had not featured since before Christmas. Rainey conceded a silly penalty in the visitors’ half and paid the price as Dungannon cashed in to score a converted try at the posts.
In the final play of a scrappy game, Dungannon crossed again to return home with a flattering bonus point victory.
Rainey: J. Cassidy, M. O’Connor, D. Mc Murray, S. Simpson, N. Sterling, G. Martin, P. Kidd, S. Rutledge, K. Donaghy, A. Kirk, P. McGowan, R. McCusker, M. Dawson, C. Mitchell, G. Fritz. Subs: N. O’Kane, T. O’Hagan, N. Irwin, J. Andrews, D. Dawson.