THE First Trust Ulster Senior League gets under way for Rainey Old Boys at Dub Lane on Saturday where they play Queen’s University. The 2010 Senior Cup winners hve produced some quality players in recent seasons and while many of them have moved on,they can still depend on talents like attacking full-back Chris Quinn and lock Ian Henderson who made his Ulster debut last season and starred in the Junior World Cup in South Africa.
Queen’s may be a side in transition,but they gave a very good account of themselves in Division 2A of the AIL last season before fading on the run in.A prodigious last kick penalty into the wind from Mark O ‘Connor gave Rainey a 30-27 victory on their last visit to Upper Malone and they beat the students 27-20 back in February.This could be a good time to play them,given that they are traditionally hit by representative calls in the early weeks of the season.
Rainey O.B. 42 - 12 Clougher Valley
Rainey completed their preparations for the Ulster League when they met Clogher Valley in the annual Derek Lee Memorial Cup match in perfect conditions at Hatrick Park. A below strength Valley opened and completed the scoring,but Rainey dominated the rest of the game,giving all seven replacements some game time as they ran out 42-12 winners.
The Fivemiletown men usually are a tough nut to crack and they took full advantage of an early Rainey mistake to lead 5-0.Wing Clarke countered infield to set Clogher back and O’Connor opened Rainey’s account with a penalty.Back-row men Barker and Shiels then broke from a ruck to give O ‘Connor another opportunity and directly from the restart,centre Simpson was put clear by a sweetly timed pass with O’Connor adding the finishing touch and converting from a wide angle.Clogher were slow to cover when Rainey countered at every opportunity and they might have had a penalty try when Harbinson was impeded.O’Connor landed another magnificent conversion when Mc Clelland came across to touch down following a surge from Barker and the supporting Simpson.With half-time approaching,out-half Martin gave Rainey a good field position for the forwards to work their way towards the goal line and scrum-half Mc Cluggage sold a neat dummy to go through behind the posts.
Five minutes after the restart,Rainey forced a turnover for Shiels to score in the corner to make it 35-5.Unfortunately he damaged a hamstring in the process and will be out for some time.Replacement centre Pyper then broke from a ruck to score just to the left of the posts.Valley were very unlucky not to score after a great run from their right wing.Apart from that,it was all Rainey with Stewart held up.The visitors enjoyed their best spell as Rainey emptied their bench and with time almost up barged over from a close range penalty.
The Thirds will be in action at Judges Road on Saturday where City of Derry host the annual George Tees Cup competition.
RAINEY team that played Clogher - M.O’Connor, A.Clarke, D.Mc Murray, S.Simpson, M.Mc Clelland, G.Martin, A.McCluggage, N.Amos, S.Rutledge, R.Hill,P.Boyle, P.Stewart, A.Harbinson, M.Shiels, T.Barker. REPLACEMENTS - M.Pyper, P.Wilson, C.O’Neill, R.Mc Kernan, A.Mc Glaughlin, K.Donaghy, S.Best.