Blackrock College 24-3 Rainey Old Boys
Irish rugby great, Fergus Slattery, was in the crowd at a bright, but very cold Stradbrook to see his old club Blackrock remain on course for promotion.
Rainey had to replace several unavailable players with young lads and lost Conor Murphy in the warm-up.
They gave of their best, helping their side to enjoy territorial dominance for spells of the game, but they just could not put points on the board and Blackrock showed them how by striking twice in the last quarter to clinch a winning margin that somewhat flattered them.
A strong crosswind, which persuaded many spectators to watch the action from the confines of the clubhouse, dictated the pattern of play.
Rainey opened well, but their central defence was found wanting after five minutes when Blackrock sliced through from a scrum on 22’.
Rainey managed to shift the Rock scrum on occasions and competed well out of touch, with Woods showing up well on his return after a lengthy absence.
A beautifully judged kick from O’Connor raised Rainey hopes as they gave as good as they got and
McMurray made a fine little break, but could not get his pass away to his support.
When O’Connor was yellow carded after 27 minutes, Rock began to turn the screw, but Rainey defended stoutly until a driving maul helped them to a 12-3 lead.
Right on half-time, Rainey had an escape when a forward pass cost Blackrock a try.
Rainey practically camped in the Blackrock 22’ in the third quarter, but twice decided to go for tries rather than take the easy points on offer.
Their route one tactics worked well to an extent as they drove to within striking distance on several occasions and were held up once, but they did not have enough in their locker to trouble a sound defence.
The back play was too predictable and not nearly accurate enough. The last 20 minutes saw Blackrock gradually assume control and on their first visit to the Rainey 22’ they scored the all-important third try.
It came when O’Connor intercepted to break clear only for play to be brought back for a Blackrock penalty from which they scored.
The home backs looked sharp as they went about grabbing the bonus point try which duly arrived in the final minute when their No.8 was given far too much space to pick up and create the chance.
Rainey OB: G Martin, M O’Connor, R McCluskey, J McMurray, M Gordon, T Emerson, M Pyper, S Rutledge, J Roe, N O’Kane, T Woods, D Dawson, J Lees, C O’Neill, C Simpson. Replacement: A Shaw, C Fulton, P Stewart, K Donaghy.