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Ulster Bank AIL 16th September 2017
Scorers: Magrath(3*Pen, 1*Conv), McMurray(1*Try), Quinn(1*Try)


The Division 2B game between Rainey Old Boys and Old Crescent at Hatrick Park had an agonising ending for the home side.  An away win looked a formality midway through the second half, but Rainey threw caution to the wind to put in a monumental effort in the last quarter which left them with a kick at goal to take a last minute lead.  But Andy Magrath's conversion attempt from out on the right came back off the inside of a post to give the Limerick men an invaluable 22-21 victory.

Rainey were naturally hugely disappointed at losing their opening home game, a game which they expected to be very tough.  Their lineout did not function that well and at times they were outrucked as a result of not committing enough forwards to the breakdown.  But, the fact is that they were simply very unlucky.  They never seemed to get the bounce of the ball and lost possession on numerous occasions within a yard of the goal-line.  The Rainey scrum was never in trouble, yet was penalised regularly, while a succession of baffling decisions had the crowd on the referee's back long before half-time.

Young South African hooker Brad Roberts was making his debut for Rainey who moved well downfield from the off, but they were blown for not releasing quickly enough.  A bright passage of play brought them a penalty which Magrath landed to break the stalemate.  Crescent failed with a shot at goal, but made no mistake when Rainey messed up a lineout to hand them another chance.  Despite the rain that fell throughout, both sides tried to put width on the ball, with Crescent's dangerous centres causing all sorts of trouble.  Magrath made it 9-7 when a Crescent player should have seen yellow for tackling a supporting Rainey player without the ball.  Full-back Quinn saved Rainey when their midfield was split open, but another lovely move took the scoreline to 14-9. Winger McCusker and lively hooker Roberts combined well to make ground before they took a quick tap penalty which came to nothing, rather than go for the posts just before half-time.

Rainey made three positional switches behind the scrum, but nothing of note happened until a disputed try was given by the referee who had been informed by his touch judge that the scorer had put a foot in touch.  At 19-9 it looked done and dusted, but Rainey did not lie down.  Dominant in the scrum, the pack laid seige to the Crescent line, but just could not apply the coup de grace.  On 69 minutes, they took a heel against the head near the posts to drive the opposition back for No8 McMurray to dramatically alter the picture. But, for some unknown reason, Crescent were handed a penalty in front of the Rainey posts two minutes later.  It was all Rainey now and they hammered away at the line until Quinn found a little gap to reduce the deficit to a single point.  But it was not to be Rainey's day.


TEAM: O.Quinn, R.Lamberton, J.McIlroy, D.McMurray, P.McCusker, K.Donaghy, B.Roberts, T.Barker, J.McCusker, P.Stewart, J.McMurray, T.O'Hagan.
REPLACEMENTS: S.Rutledge, A.Harbinson, M.McCusker.