Magherafelt R.F.C. was founded in 1928. Some success at minor level came the club's way before the outbreak of war. A few games were played during the war years and from 1947, the club became known as Rainey Old Boys R.F.C. After initial success, a barren period followed and it was not until the mid-60s that the club began to go places.
Having added some strength in depth to the squad, they started the next season by beating Ballymena 2s in the Past Players' Cup Final. After twelve straight wins in the league, they came unstuck at
In 2008/09, With South African Rhys Botha as Player/Coach and Andrew Kerr as Captain, Rainey turned in some very promising performances in the Ulster League, beating Ballymena once again at Eaton Park. A fine victory over Instonians at Shaw's Bridge earned them a home tie against U.C.D. in the second round.
They opened their AIL campaign with a win at Banbridge, but their aspirations of a top four finish disappeared when player after player joined the injured list, including Willem Jacobs, an overseas recruit from South Africa. While their home form was strangely poor, they produced some battling displays at Suttonians, Ards and Sunday's Well to finish in 10th place.
Richard McCrea was captain for season 2009-2010. Forty-seven players were used as player after player went down injured. Limerick side Old Crescent were visitors in the Cup before the AIL got under way. New Zealander Tony Dodunski picked up an injury within five minutes of his debut and was out for six weeks. Hopes of a top half finish turned to survival and a narrow victory at Portadown proved vital. An unexpected draw at Midleton, who were promoted behind an outstanding Queen's team, was a timely boost and late season home wins over Instonians and Ards took Rainey up to the thirty point mark and again tenth spot in the table.
Season 2010-2011, with Rodney Paul as captain, was a truly remarkable one. A chronic injury list saw the side struggle in the Ulster League and lose the first four games in Division 3 of the AIL campaign, but the return to fitness of New Zealand scrum-half Peter Sciascia and a host of others kick-started an outstanding run, spoiled only by an intercept try against Nenagh. A record total of 46 points hoisted Rainey up to sixth place.
This run of success continued when Simon Hawe took over as captain. After a great start, a little mid-season sticky patch was to severely dent promotion prospects, but a fine finish earned the club fifth place on 48 points in Div 2B of a restructured AIL. The ability and character of the squad was evident when all-conquering Cashel were extremely fortunate to beat them 20-17 at Spafield on the final day of the campaign. Neil O'Kane was chosen as Player of the Year for the fifth time, while the very popular Peter Sciascia returned home, having given the club many moments to remember.
Season 2012-13 was a memorable one for the club. The Division 2B title was won, with fourteen wins and a draw from fifteen starts. Rainey were the only undefeated side in the AIL and had the best defensive record - Points for: 456, Points Against: 167, Tries scored: 59.
With a number of stalwarts no longer available, several quality replacements were brought on board just in time for the more important business of the AIL and early victories over bogey team Nenagh and likely challengers Barnhall marked Rainey down as one of the teams to watch. Despite losing O'Neill and McCluggage to injury, they topped the table at the mid-season break. An unexpected appearance in the Ulster Cup Final was a pleasant diversion and though they performed poorly on the night against Ballymena, earlier comebacks at Dungannon and Malone showed the character of the side.
Two late tries at Forenaughts gave them a very acceptable 19-19 draw with second-placed Naas and a last gasp try at Suttonians yielded a vital bonus point. They were fortunate to escape with a win at Navan when a succession of injuries completely altered the course of the game, but an outstanding display at the Palace Grounds, where resolute defending and clinical finishing enabled them to beat a good Armagh side 34-8, clinched promotion and with two home fixtures against relegation threatened teams to follow, the title was as good as their's. Barnhall finished eleven points adrift, while Naas won a play-off at Greystones to claim the third promotion spot.
Coaches - Chris Campbell, Richard Boyd and Dylan Davies. Captain - Neil O'Kane.
Player of the Year - Stewart Simpson. Most Improved Player - Andrew Harbinson.
In readiness for life at a new level in season 2013-2014, some exciting signings were made and a number of very talented school leavers came on board, to leave the club with a strong looking squad. It soon became apparent, however, that a few of the promotion winning squad would, for various reasons, not be available to continue and a season-ending injury to scrum-half Alan McCluggage was a devastating blow.
But, although resources were severely stretched at times, some good early season results in the AIL meant that relegation was never an issue and several young players were given some game time as they remained in the top half of the table for most of the season. But, while the 'points for' column made reasonable reading, the 'points against' tally gave cause for concern. Two disappointing defeats at Donnybrook and a difficult finish to the programme saw Rainey slip down to tenth place.
The highlight of the season was, undoubtedly, a tremendous comeback victory against all the odds at high-flying Ulster Senior Cup winners Queen's. The opening of the Bobby Henderson Fitness Suite and the completion of the Council's new 3G pitches were significant additions to the already impressive facilities at Hatrick Park. Paddy McGowan was chosen as Player of the Year.
Louise Flanigan was President of the club for the 2014-2015 season. Coming from a rugby background in Cork, she was a natural choice. With key players ruled out for long spells, it became a very frustrating campaign. While managing to keep clear of the bottom clubs, a top ten finish was always going to be a tall order. A lot of talented young players revealed considerable potential when handed a taste of AIL rugby and they should continue to develop in Section 2B of a restructured league.
A major landmark was also reached in mid-season with the completion of work on the installation of floodlights on the main pitch.
From the outset, season 2015-16 looked like being a difficult one. As a run of injuries stretched an already thin senior squad to the limit, it was a very young side that was faced with a task that was just beyond them. Games were lost that might have been won and confidence drained away. Stirring home wins over eventual champions Highfield and Armagh offered some hope, but some very disappointing home displays and a play-off defeat at home saw the club relegated. In the course of the season, several young lads were thrown in at the deep end and they can be proud of their efforts.Some of them, in fact, could become regulars on the side in the not too distant future.
With the aid of a Council grant,the club acquired the latest GPS equipment to aid in player development and to monitor progression. The collected data can be analysed by coaching staff and it should assist them in identifying player weaknesses and areas for improvement.
Another highly successful season at underage level saw Rainey move up to No 2 spot in the Ulster rankings, with a number of players brought into the Ulster development squads. The U18's just ran out of time in the Nutty Krust final after a nightmare start against Dromore, while the U14's had no answer against a huge Lurgan side in the Bowl final. Pride of place went to the U16's who completed a magnificent double by beating a good Dromore team 11-10 in a nerve-wracking Ulster Carpets Cup final at the Kingspan Stadium.
With record numbers turning out for coaching and our teams doing very well on their travels, the future looks as bright as ever for the Minis. From the top down, a great job is being done at this level.