Armagh 18-8 Rainey 0B
When it comes to making New Year resolutions, there can only be one priority for the senior squad of Rainey Old Boys
With the Ulster Bank League resuming on January 24th, they have to find a quick solution to their problems or a place in Division 3 next season will be beyond them.
While they have had terrible luck with injuries, never fielding at full strength, the committment at times could be questioned and performance levels have been erratic.
Before the home game with UCC, they play Ards (away) and Banbridge (home) in the Ulster Championship. A big improvement is essential.
Rainey had to use many of their young prospects at the Palace Grounds where they played some very spirited rugby against Armagh, yet still came out on the wrong side of an 18-8 scoreline.
The effort could not be faulted, but the lack of quality and experience shows. Armagh should have been sunk without trace before they put in a little spurt at a stage to break clear.
Rainey started well until Armagh were allowed to turn bad ball into good and find a gap, only for their hooker to spill the scoring pass.
After 15 minutes, out-half Martin a shock lead. Taking a quick penalty in his own half, he followed up a high kick and gladly accepted a friendly bounce to go through for a fine try.
Armagh replied when a big scrum brought them a close range penalty.
A missed tackle in midfield then let Armagh in for a try at the posts, but, from a lineout, Martin dropped a smart goal to level matters. The last play of the half saw an Armagh penalty drop just short.
The next twenty-five minutes belonged to Rainey, but, despite forcing errors and laying siege to the home line for much of it, the scorer was not troubled.
Two relatively simple penalties were missed to sum up their day and Armagh struck with a penalty and a try to make them pay for their wastefulness.
Rainey finished on top with wing Gordon and scrum-half Fulton denied after kicking ahead.
Team: R McCloskey, M Gordon, J McMurray, D McMurray, N Stirling, G Martin, C Fulton, S Rutledge, A Shaw, R Squires, R McCusker, P Stewart, J Lees, E Shaw, J Roe.
Replacements: N O’Kane, M Caithness, J Spence, J Crowe.