Rainey Endowed are happy to wear the underdogs tag when they travel to Belfast Royal Academy on Saturday morning for a Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup fourth round tie (kick-off 10.45am)
Team captain, Adam Currie, has led his team to a success rate of just over 50 per cent this season. He has quite often been in a situation where he has had some nine Year 12 players under his control during games this season and, to his credit, he has brought them through well.
The top try scorers on Rainey have been their Danske Bank Ulster U18 Schools’ player, Bryn Davies, and Ulster U18 Club’s player, Jac Lloyd Evans. There is rugby football running through the veins of the Davies family as father, Dylan, played for both the Welsh Universities and British Universities as a student. He also coached the Rainey Old Boys Club in the All Ireland League in previous years.
David Dripps has been involved with the Ulster U17 RDS set up and Jack Bresland and Karl Warner are beginning to emerge as useful young players with an eye on the future. Both these players were try scorers in the course of their third round game against Regent House.
Todd Smyth is another Rainey player who caught the eye in that game. Adam Hunter is not just a talented rugby player, as was seen by his performance against Regent, but is a useful exponent of the Gaelic code as well in his role as a vital player on the Derry Minor Gaelic Football team.
Coach, Chris Campbell, has savoured the euphoria of being a Schools’ Cup winner with Rainey in 1982 and his young charges would love to repeat that feat.
BRA may have had a mixed season in terms of results, but there have been some couraging signs breaking through in the build up to the start of the Cup.
Team captain, Conor McAuley, is a live wire scrumhalf who always gives of his best. He directs operations, cajoules and encourages his team mates, scores tries, kicks goals and has caused numerous headaches for the opposition players in all his games this season. All these qualities were evident in his performance against Portadown College in the previous round. Conor has topped the try scoring and, indeed, the points scoring charts for his team since the start of the season.
The hard-working Tom Gilpin, in the BRA backrow, has assisted with the try scoring statistics this season as has Matthew Borne. He had his great ability recognised earlier in the season when he played on the Ulster Schools’ U18 team throughout the Inter-Provincial series of games.
Matthew Dalton, but for a knee injury, would have played on the Ulster U19 team. His progress in terms of his performance in the Schools’ Cup campaign will be monitored closely by the Ireland U19 Management team. His ‘lording of the lineout’ as well as his two tries against Portadown shows he has lost none of his all action style of play.
Second row partner, Bradley Luney, is another player Rainey will need to monitor closely especially at set piece time.
There are two emerging young players on the Belfast Royal Academy team whose progress in the course of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign will be watched closely.
Tom Stewart is a player who could play anywhere in the front row while Brandon Hasson is adept in a number of outside positions in the backline and loves nothing more than to get the ball in his hands.
Abdullah Sabri, another wide player in the Belfast Royal Academy back division, will be very keen to add to his recent try scoring exploits in this tie.