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Former Ulster Branch President John McKibbin & Graffin Parke
Former Ulster Branch President John McKibbin & Graffin Parke
Graffin Parke & ROB President John Overend
Graffin Parke & ROB President John Overend

 

At the IRFU Ulster Branch AGM held recently at Hatrick Park, long-standing ROBRFC club member and stalwart, Graffin Parke, was elected as the new Ulster Branch President for the 2017/18 season, taking over from outgoing President John McKibbin. Graffin is the first ever member of Rainey old Bys to hold this prestigious position and everyone at the club wishes him every success for his year in office.

Rugby aficionados have had the Lions' exploits in New Zealand to keep them entertained for much of the close season and now that the eagerly-awaited fixture lists for the Ulster and All-Ireland Leagues have been announced, clubs can step up their preparations.
 

Rainey Old Boys are looking forward to returning to Division 2B which looks wide open.  They have been training since late July and will take their preparations up a level when they travel to Fivemiletown on Saturday for the annual Derek Lee Memorial Match against Clogher Valley.  Both sides take the opportunity to give all their squad a run out in this fixture.  The juniors are always difficult opponents at the Cran, which is one of the best playing surfaces in the country.  Then, on August 19, a bright,young Omagh, back in the AIL after a long absence, come to Hatrick Park for a friendly.

Rainey Old Boys were well represented at Ulster Rugby's annual Awards Dinner, which was held at Aquinas Grammar School on Saturday evening.  With four nominees across three catagories, the Rainey Boys came away with two winners.

 

Ulster U18 Captain Michael O'Neill and Ulster U18 and Irish U18 Clubs & Schools repesentative Jack McIntosh were both nominated for the Ulster Carpets Youth Player of the Year, with Jack McIntosh earning the win.  

 

In the Ken Goodall Outstanding Club Player of the Year category, John McCusker (Ulster A, Ireland U19) and Tommy O'Hagan (Ulster A) were the local nominees, with Tommy O'Hagan getting the nod. Tommy was also nominated in the BT Young Player of the Year category, but lost out to Ulster regular Jacob Stockdale.

 

Well done to all the boys!

President of the Ulster Branch, John McKibbin, was in attendance at Hatrick Park where Rainey Old Boys held their Club Dinner & Awards function last Friday evening.  Mick Quinn,widely regarded as one of the best After Dinner Speakers on the circuit, was making his third appearance at the club and he did not disappoint.  He is renowned for his charity work and brought an Old Ireland XV to Rainey almost thirty years ago for the Robert Glover Memorial Match.  On behalf of the club, Dylan Davies entertained the crowd in his inimitable way with some of his witty observations on present day rugby and on life in general before proposing a toast to the guests and visitors.

 

The Player of the Year award went to former Ulster, Castres and Glasgow second-row Tim Barker, whose experience and quality shone through as Rainey worked their way out of a mid-season slump to claim promotion via the play-offs.  The Young Player award was won by prop Tommy O'Hagan,who made such an impression at the Ulster Academy that he was called on several times by the Ulster "A" selectors.  Fintan Quinn was chosen as the Most Improved Young Forward, doing very well when thrown in at the deep end in mid-season.  Philip McCusker had a remarkable season.  After only a handful of starts for the Seconds, he was given an outing at a higher level and never looked back.  He was the obvious choice for the Improved Back award.  Mattie Miller picked up the 2nd XV award, receiving a lot of praise for his attitude and commitment, while hooker Michael Caithness,who is heading to Canada shortly, was presented with a memento of his time at the club.  Dr Paddy Pyper received the Janet Mc Falone Salver for his overall contribution to the club and Davy Young took the Clubman of the Year trophy.  Davy does a tremendous job as Treasurer while working away behind the scenes with the underage teams.  MC for  the evening was Arnold McLean.

Following the club AGM, John Overend assumes the role of President, with Arnold McLean as Vice-President.  Sean Dillon will be assisting Ian Gillespie as Assistant Secretary.  On the playing side, Damien McMurray will be next season's 1st XV captain, while Aidan McSwiggan will captain the U20 side.  Good luck to all for their year in office.