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Energia AIL 5th October 2019
Scorers: Fitzsimons(1*Try), McMurray(1*Try), Magrath(2*Conv, 1*Pen)
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After leading 17-3 towards half-time, Rainey Old Boys had to settle for a losing bonus point as a very solid Nenagh Ormond side turned the game on its head to run out 22-17 winners on the opening day of the Energia AIL.  Though they scored two tries to Nenagh's one, Rainey were happy enough to hang on for a point in the end.  Their inability on the day to deal with the high ball plagued them throughout the contest, as the penalty count against them soared.  Nenagh right-wing Scully kicked five penalties and a conversion to make them pay for their indiscretions.

 

The remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo had thankfully moved away from North West Tipperary by kick-off time, but the slippy surface and wet ball caused the players problems.  Nenagh were first to threaten, moving it wide before a little kick infield and a hack on forced Rainey to concede a five metre scrum.  The home side twice opted for scrums near the posts instead of taking the points on offer, but Rainey defended well.  John McCusker had to retire with a facial injury and Rainey's lineout was to miss his presence when the pressure mounted later in the game.  Adopting a very sound game plan, Rainey established a great attacking position with the pack taking it on before scrum-half Bloomfield went wide to send Fitzsimons over for a try which Magrath converted.

 

Ten minutes later, it was looking very promising for Rainey when, from a penalty into the Nenagh 22', they ran it for centre McMurray to break a tackle and cross at the posts.  After great play from the Nenagh forwards, Fitzsimons put in a telling tackle only to be penalised for not rolling away quickly enough.  Scully calmly slotted over his kick from almost fifty yards, but Magrath replied three minutes later.  Just before the interval, Connolly did well to set up a ruck, but Rainey transgressed to hand the opposition three points.

 

Two minutes into the second half, Nenagh scored a fine try through their well-drilled pack and they never looked back.  A favourable bounce fell for Nenagh on the left wing, but O'Neill somehow got across to bring off a try saving tackle.  With their kicking game far superior to Rainey's and the plck and drive tactic working a treat, another penalty narrowed the gap to a point.  A number of positional switches and rolling substitutions failed to improve the situation and, with thirteen minutes remaining, Nenagh took the lead.

 

A rare sortie to the Nenagh 22' saw Rainey set up a ruck, but, yet again, the referee found reason to blow them up.  Nenagh stretched their lead as they set up camp in the Rainey half and the Old Boys were relieved to hear the final whistle.

 

Team: M.Connolly, A.Donaghy, D.McMurray, C.Fitzsimons, M.O'Neill, A.Magrath, J.Bloomfield, A.McSwiggan, B.Roberts, F.Quinn, J,McCusker, R.McCusker, A.Harbinson, J.Bresland, A.Bratton.
Replacements: M.McCusker, H.Evans, D.McElroy, A.Bratton.