Other Options

Energia AIL 2A 11th January 2020
Scorers: Roberts(1*Try), O'Hagan(1*Try), Magrath(2*Pen)
Photos
 
Having already beaten Ballymena twice by a comfortable margin this season, Rainey Old Boys were warm favourites to come out on top when they met at Eaton Park.  But, despite a two-week rest, it was a lacklustre Rainey side that made too many unforced errors which the battling Braidmen cashed in on and it took a late try to salvage a 16-16 draw which keeps them in second place, only one point ahead of the chasing pack.  Runaway leaders Barnhall come to Rainey on January 25.
 
 
Rainey led 8-3 after half an hour to look sure to move on with the prospect of wind advantage after the break, but, with Andy Magrath having an off-day with the boot, they continued to shoot themselves in the foot and in the end were perhaps thankful to settle for the two points.

SONI Ulster Premiership Section 1 21st December 2019
Scorers: Fitzsimons(1*Try), Roberts(1*Try), McMurray(2*Try), M.McCusker(1*Try), Brockschmidt(1*Try), Magrath(3*Conv)
Photos
 
Hatrick Park was the place to be on Saturday when referee Alan Clark's final whistle sounded, leaving Rainey Old Boys SONI Ulster Premiership Section 1 champions.  Players and spectators alike were ecstatic as Dungannon man Gary Leslie, President of the Ulster Branch, presented acting captain Jason Bloomfield with the Stevenson Shield.
 
 
Having won Section 2 last season, Rainey were among the big boys for the first time, and rank outsiders in this competition, but they have risen to the challenge in style, winning all four of the games so far with a bonus point, to claim the title a week early.  Malone, who entertain Rainey on the last day of this league, are also rans, having lost at Eaton Park.
 

 

While professional players contracted to Ulster cannot play in this competition, causing Banbridge to make some changes, it does not detract from an outstanding achievement for a small club.  The unavailability of Ronan McCusker led to Rainey making a couple of positional switches up front and bringing in Tommy O'Hagan after his term with Ulster and Ballynahinch.  Conor Fitzsimons returned from injury and was a major contender for Man of the Match

 

Energia AIL 2A 14th December 2019
Scorers: Magrath(3*Pen), Roberts(1*Try), (1*Pen Try)
Photos

 

A good crowd turned out at Hatrick Park to see Rainey Old Boys defeat Ballymena 21-0 to complete the first half of their AIL programme and remain in second place in the table.  With the fixtures now coming in reverse order, their next outing in this competition will be at Eaton Park next month.

 

Rainey had this game sewn up by the half hour stage and looked a safe bet to go on and take a bonus point, but, as the temperature dropped dramatically and the breeze they faced after the break became a wind, Ballymena had more of the ball, but got no change out of a very solid Rainey defence.  Rainey's backline never clicked in attack as they held on too often with numbers outside.  Nevertheless, six wins at this level is a very respectable effort.

Energia AIL 2A 7th December 2019
Scorers: Magrath(1*Pen)

Photos

 

Match Of The Day in Division 2A was the top of the table clash where clear leaders MU Barnhall met Rainey Old Boys at their Parsonstown complex just outside Cellbridge.  Rainey put in a huge shift and were there with a real chance throughout, but the Blue Bulls edged the last quarter to clinch an 8-3 victory.  With a nine point lead and results elsewhere going in their favour, Barnhall are now odds-on favourites to go straight up to Division 1B. Having won every single league game they have played since last October, this is a remarkable achievement, which justifies their amalgamation with Maynooth University a few seasons ago.

 

While there was only one try scored in this low-scoring game, it was an entertaining, ding-dong tussle from start to finish.  Barnhall know that they were fortunate to turn round only 3-0 behind at half-time and if Rainey had taken their penalties instead of plumping for other options, the outcome could have been different.  The sides were well matched, the encounter played out at pace with great intensity and the tackling of both truly exceptional.

Energia AIL 2A 30th November 2019

Scorers: O'Neill(1*Try), Magrath(1*Pen, 1*Conv), (1*Pen Try)

Photos

 

The much anticipated clash between Queen's University and Rainey Old Boys could not nave had a more sensational ending.  When a 50 yard penalty deep in time added by Queen's out-half Richie McMaster drifted just past the post, a share of the spoils looked like perhaps the right result.  But, when Rainey opted for a short drop out from the 22', it did not go quite as planned and a turnover handed the students an unexpected chance to set up a ruck from which McMaster popped over a drop goal to give his side a 20-17 victory.  The final whistle sounded as soon as a score was awarded, sending the Queen's contingent into raptures and the losers into despair.

 

The prospect of an entertaining contest attracted a good crowd to Queen's magnificent complex at The Dub where both the overhead and underfoot conditions were perfect for the fifteen man rugby which favour the style of rugby that these sides like to play.  A close run affair was to follow, with the lead changing several times.  This result keeps Queen's in touch of the leaders while Barnhall remain the team to beat.