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SONI Ulster Premiership 29th December 2018

Scorers: Mulholland(1*Try), Fitzsimons(1*Try), J.McCusker(2*Try)

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The final day of the SONI Ulster Premiership League saw Division 2 winners Rainey Old Boys in action against Dungannon at Stevenson Park.  It turned out to be a low key affair, with Rainey banking a try scoring bonus point in a 20-10 victory.

 

Rainey were without several regulars, some unavailable and others rested with a tough Senior Cup semi-final at Armagh coming up,b ut they always looked as if they could move up a gear against a Dungannon side which showed commendable spirit, committing forwards to the breakdown to enjoy territorial advantage for much of the game and stay in the picture.

 

With a return AIL game at this venue in three weeks time, Rainey were keen to win this one, but Dungannon deprived them of the ball in the early exchanges without causing a solid Rainey defence any real problems.  Rainey's bright young full-back O'Neill showed them how to do it after eleven minutes when he slipped through a lovely little kick for wing Mulholland to open the scoring.  Both scrum-half Bloomfield and O'Neill chose to run from deep as a confident back division looked as if they could inflict damage if given the chance.  Magrath was well positioned to get back when Dungannon kicked through and O'Neill saved them with a timely ankle tap tackle when the home threequarters put together the best move of the match.

 

A quickly taken tap penalty and a long kick into space from ex-Dungannon player Bloomfield took Rainey to the Dungannon 22' and, as half-time approached, a loop move resulted in a try from centre Fitzsimons.

 

Towards the end of the third quarter, Dungannon found a way through after a period of pressure, but Rainey reacted with replacement Fritz intercepting to put his side on the front foot.  Play moved wide to Mulholland who found McSwiggan on his inside in the 22', where a penalty to the corner allowed the Rainey pack to take it on before Magrath fed second-row John McCusker for a try in the corner.  In the closing minutes, a penalty to touch saw John Mc Cusker soar to take ball at the tail and drive with the support of his colleagues for a fine try.  Dungannon kept going and were rewarded in time added with their second try.

 

TEAM: M.O'Neill, A.Hunter, A.Brown, C.Fitzsimons, M.Mulholland, A.Magrath,J .Bloomfield, J.McIntosh, A.McSwiggan, F.Quinn, J.McCusker, R.McCusker, C.Clarke, A.Harbison, M.McCusker

REPLACEMENTS  :  C.Smyth, M.Caithness, G.Fritz.