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Ulster Bank AIL 7th October 2017
Scorers: Magrath(3*Pen, 4*Conv), O'Neill(1*Try), R.McCusker(1*Try), D.McMurray(1*Try), McIlroy(2*Try)

Photos

 

Games between Rainey Old Boys and Barnhall tend to be tight, tense, but interesting affairs and the big crowd that gathered at Hatrick Park were not to be disappointed by the entertainment they were about to witness.  Sharing third place, this was a big game for both clubs and at the half hour stage there was nothing in it.  But, the visitors' lack of discipline was to prove crucial as Rainey seized the initiative to run in four tries in the final quarter to pick up an unlikely bonus point in a 42-10 win.  In attendance was Ulster's Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, a guest of Rainey stalwart Graffin Parke, who is, of,course, President of the Ulster Branch this season.

 

Out-half Andy Magrath landed a magnificent 50 yard penalty to put Rainey ahead after nine minutes, but it was the Kildare side that owned the first quarter.  They were able to impose themselves on the Rainey scrum which the referee lectured on several occasions and were awarded a penalty try following a spell of pressure in the corner.  Rainey were missing absent ball carriers Barker and O'Hagan, but with Pritchard setting the example, they began to gain a foothold in the proceedings.  On four occasions they opted to go to the corner with penalties without reward. 

 

No8 McMurray came onto a short pass in style, but saw the ball slip from his grasp in contact.Magrath brought Rainey closer,but a penalty on the half hour gave Barnhall a 10-6 lead. Quinn broke into the 22', but did not get quick enough support.  However the dynamic Pritchard then stormed through to provide instant possession for Magrath to kick wide straight into the arms of winger O'Neill who touched down unopposed.  Magrath converted.  Ulster U19 player O'Neill, usually a centre, was making his debut on the 1st XV.

 

Another powerful Pritchard burst late in the half saw a Barnhall player yellow carded, leaving them two players short.  Magrath kicked the penalty to leave Rainey 16-10 up at the break.

 

Rainey moved the ball around well in the early minutes of the second half as they strove to make their numerical advantage pay and the real turning point in the game came when the referee spotted a heavy, late challenge on McIlroy.  The culprit had already been in the bin and was therefore dismissed.  Magrath snatched his kick at goal. 

 

Barnhall still had to be respected, but when some good handling sucked in the cover, big Ronan McCusker strolled over for the try which allowed them to breathe more easily.  Barnhall rallied, but a little run and chip ahead from wing Stirling took play back into the Barnhall 22'.  From the lineout, the ball was flashed along the line to Damien McMurray who crossed.  Scrum-half Bloomfield brought off a lovely ankle tap tackle when Barnhall threatened, but Rainey then scored a marvellous try through centre McIlroy, with replacement Stewart playing a key role.  With the bonus point now in the bag, Rainey did not relent.  Hooker Roberts took the restart kick in spectacular style to drive through,with McIlroy supplying the finish beneath the posts.

 

TEAM : O.Quinn, N.Stirling, J.McIlroy, D.McMurray, M.O'Neill, A.Magrath, J.Bloomfield, S.Rutledge, R.McCusker, J.McCusker, B.Roberts, K.Donaghy, M.McCusker, J.McMurray, P.Pritchard

REPLACEMENTS : F.Quinn, P.Stewart, M.Nevin, B.Mullan, A.Donaghy.