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Ulster Senior Cup 1st Round 2nd September 2017

Scorers: McMurray(1*Try), Stewart(1*Try), McIlroy(1*Conv)



With a number of players not making themselves available for the early season games, Rainey Old Boys had to call on some unfamiliar faces for their first round Ulster Senior Cup against Banbridge at Hatrick Park.  The Rifle Park side proved to be far too good for them and were able to move up a gear when Rainey hit back to trail by only five points midway through the second half.  A late score gave Banbridge a 32-12 victory which takes them and the other first round winners Malone, Dungannon and Ballynahinch through to the second round stage.


A good crowd out to enjoy the fine weather will have been disappointed that their team had to call on some relative unknowns.  They found themselves 5-0 down within a minute of the kick-off.  Thriving on some ineffective tackling, the Banbridge pack punched holes through the middle with quick ball to create the room for a lovely try in the corner.

Rainey battled to get back into it, but McIlroy misjudged the crosswind.  They did get off the mark after 21 minutes with a well worked try.  Fielding a clearance on the right, the ball was moved acrossfield with wing Philip McCusker sending centre McMurray away for a score that gave the spectators something to shout about.  A scrum penalty put the visitors back in front and they cashed in on a Rainey handling error to strike down the right to lead 13-5.  Right on the break, Rainey missed a relatively simple penalty.

Rainey threatened after the interval, but another turnover presented Banbridge with the chance to go through the phases for a try which gave them plenty of breathing space.  With Barker introduced to the fray, Rainey at last showed glimpses of their potential in a bright little spell which brought them a try which really lifted the crowd.  In midfield,centre McIlroy slipped a lovely little offload to McMurray who weaved his way through to the 22' to find second row Stewart coming up in support on the outside.  He had the legs to apply the coup de grace, with McIlroy this time landing a fine conversion.  McIlroy then had a little dart and caught Banbridge napping by running a penalty down the short side only for a terrible pass to bring a promising move to a halt.  Banbridge made them pay for this lapse by running in their fourth try a minute later.

A stop-start game became rather scrappy with Banbridge much quicker to the loose ball,thus ruling out any chance of a Rainey comeback.  A last minute try left the Division 1B newcomers comfortable 32-12 winners.

TEAM: R.Lamberton, S.Crooks, J.McIlroy, D.McMurray, A.Donaghy, K.Lynch, J.Bloomfield, S.Rutledge, K.Donaghy, A.Kirk, P.Stewart, P.Boyle, M.Miller, M. McCusker, A. Harbinson.  
REPLACEMENTS: T.Barker, A.McSwiggan, F.Quinn, P. McCusker