Rugby: Rainey Endowed ready for Schools’ Cup campaign

Rainey Endowed's Mark Rooney with the Schools Cup.
Rainey Endowed's Mark Rooney with the Schools Cup.

Rainey Endowed kick off their Danske Bank Schools’ Cup campaign with a tough match away against Down High School this weekend.

The Magherafelt squad will be hoping to reverse the result of last year’s third round encounter when the Down High students narrowly defeated them 6-5.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Rainey Head Coach Chris Campbell said it had been a difficult season for Rainey as they have been plagued by injuries.

“As yet this season we have not been able to field our strongest side, although it is hoped everyone will be available for the cup game,” he said.

“Experienced players like Andrew Nicholl, Mark Rooney, Timmy Shiels, and captain Calvin Smyth have missed large chunks of the season. Lorcan Quinn, Neal Hastings and Anton Lupari have also had time on the touchline.

“The unfortunate Rory Nicholl has yet to play this season. The squad has, therefore, had to dig deep with many younger players getting opportunities and they have made a big impression.”

With that sort of injury list, Rainey have had to rely on their younger players coming in to make an impression.

Campbell continued: “Adam Hunter, Mark Mulholland, Andrew Nevin, Todd Smyth, Adam Patrick, Richard Winder, Conor Stringer and Andrew Hawe have all caught the eye in their first season of senior rugby.

“But because of the number of injuries consistency has been provided by Scott Campbell, Mark Allingham, Connor Brennan, Andrew Brown, Cameron Stewart and Andrew Conway.

“Adam Currie has been very influential in his first senior season. Michael Lynn and Wallace Bruce have both performed to a high standard in important games.”

Campbell admits however that their old foes, Down High School will be a difficult fixture for the Magherafelt school but he thinks the ‘underdogs’ tag might just suit Rainey.

While Campbell might be hopeful of getting a result, he knows nothing better than their best will do for Rainey: “We have produced a few strong performances this season against Dalriada, Royal School Dungannon, Royal School Armagh and Sullivan, but will need to be at our very best to get a victory in Downpatrick.”