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Ulster Bank AIL 26th January 2018
Scorers: Magrath(2*Pen), 1*Pen Try



As was feared, the loss of hooker Brad Roberts would be a major factor when Rainey Old Boys faced North Dublin side Skerries at Holmpatrick.  But it was not the sole reason why Rainey's ten game winning run came to an end.  Skerries were good value for their 20-13 victory, making the most of Rainey's poor decision making and silly mistakes.  To make matters even worse, ace flanker Paul Pritchard picked up a nasty head injury midway through the second half which could keep him out of action for some time.

Skerries showed at Rainey earlier in the season that they were a very capable team and after a run of poor results, they were up for this fixture.  Just before kick-off, the lights were switched on as the rain moved in and the wind got up.  Rainey had to defend well straight from the start and forced a turnover to clear the danger, but fell behind to a sixth minute penalty.  A succession of penalties kept Skerries in the Rainey half and they eventually scored in the corner.  As the half hour approached, Rainey finally managed to string together a few phases in Skerries territory, a high tackle giving Magrath the chance to open their account. But, failure to deal with the restart kick was to prove costly as Skerries scored a try a minute later.

Rainey's attempts to play an offloading game in tricky conditions just did not work, with the ball usually going to ground or straight to an opponent, but they persisted with it and some wayward passing in the backs made life difficult for them.  Centre Donaghy did well to get back when a loose ball was hacked through.  Rainey had a clear edge in the scrums, but Skerries managed to get the ball away well and cause problems.

A little sunshine peeped through, but Rainey's first visit to the east coast venue was to get no more enjoyable.  They established a great position in the corner, but lost control as they tried to drive over. Skerries always looked dangerous on the counter and a knock on saved Rainey, whose first up tackling was not up to its usual standard.

The Rainey pack raised the tempo to force a number of penalties in the home 22' and a penalty try left them remarkably only 13-10 behind.  But, when Pritchard had to go off, their race was run.  Skerries' left-wing, who was a real threat throughout, wandered infield again to leave the Rainey backs standing as he sped through to the posts.  Rainey emptied their bench before Magrath made it 20-13 to secure a losing bonus point. 

TEAM : O.Quinn, M.O'Neill, A.Donaghy, D.McMurray, J.McIlroy, A.Magrath, M.Wilson, K.Donaghy, M.Nevin, T.O'Hagan, T.Barker, J.McCusker, M.McCusker, A.Harbinson, P.Pritchard
REPLACEMENTS : R.McCusker, A.McSwiggan, F.Quinn, S.McLean, R.Lamberton.