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Two former products of their club's underage section brought further honour to Rainey Old Boys when they were selected on the Ulster "A" matchday squad which defeated a Cardiff Blues Premiership Select 16-10 in the British and Irish Cup under lights at Eaton Park, Ballymena last Friday night.

 

Prop forward Tommy O'Hagan was brought into the Ulster Academy last season on the strength of his exploits for Rainey.  He was given plenty of game time throughout the season, his barnstorming style making him an instant hit with the home crowd.  With several props in the Ulster squad ruled out by injury, he has been called up to the "A" squad on a few occasions and on Friday night he came off the bench early in the game.

 

Towering second-row John McCusker, who only turned eighteen in July, has made giant strides in the last few months.  Having played on the Ireland U18  XV, he is now in the Ulster Development set-up and, despite having made only eight appearances in senior rugby, was called up to the "A" team for last week's game. And, when brought on as a replacement, he became the youngest-ever player to represent Ulster at this level.  A meteoric rise if ever there was one.  He made a big impact when he made his senior debut at Midleton in October.  Coming off the bench as a replacement, he helped to swing the issue in Rainey's favour with an amazing run which led to a vital try.

 

The Rainey club is strong at underage level and hopes are high that some of the current U18 side can progress at a higher level and perhaps follow in the footsteps of Tommy and John.  Some of them receive coaching in Ulster Development squads.


On Saturday, RAINEY OLD BOYS meet MALONE in an Ulster Championship League game at Hatrick Park.  KO 2.30pm.  There will be a pre-match Christmas Lunch.

Saturday's match between Rainey OB and Kanturk was sponsored by

CP Hire Ltd, Foremost in Plant & Tool Hire.

Pictured are: Brian Wilson (Club President), Andrew Hutchinson (Managing Director CP Hire), Conor Mallon (Regional Manager CP Hire), Ian Gillespie (Club Honorary Secretary)

 

Luke Marshall (Ireland & Ulster), George Fritz (South African Overseas Player), Eugene Carson (Ardboe Coldstore Ltd Owner), Brian Wilson (Club President), John Andrews (Club Coach), Damian Campbell (2nd Team Coach).