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Energia AIL 2A 2nd November 2019

Scorers: Magrath(1*Try, 1*Pen, 2*Conv), O'Neill(2*Try), R.McCusker(1*Try)



Trailing 9-3 late in the first half, few, if any in the Hatrick Park crowd would have given Rainey any chance of picking up a try-scoring bonus point against visitors Dolphin.  And, with less than fifteen minutes remaining and the Cork side owning the ball and playing in the right part of the field without looking particularly dangerous, a Rainey victory was anything but certain.  But, when they finally managed to get to the other end of the park, two tries in five minutes brought them a 27-9 win which greatly flattered them.


Still looking for their first win, Dolphin were better than Rainey in many facets of play, but lacked a cutting edge.  Rainey simply never got going on an afternoon they will want to forget.  Sloppy passing and handling,added to some aimless kicking, were in stark contrast to the impressive early season form they have produced, while the penalty count against the forwards at the breakdown was totally unacceptable.


With hardly any wind and no rain, there could be no excuses for the poor fare served up in a dreadful first half.  An early penalty gave the Munster men an encouraging start, but Magrath replied after eight minutes, having put his side in a position from which the pack drove through to force a penalty. Straight from the restart, Rainey gifted the opposition another three points and were thankful to see yet another penalty just miss the target.


Hooker Roberts and No8 Brockschmidt were prominent, but the forwards made little impact as a unit, giving the ball away time and again.  They sprang into life when scrum-half Bloomfield instigated a move which ended with a forward pass just short of the Dolphin line.  A high tackle cost Rainey as they struggled to find their rhythm before a Dolphin player saw yellow for a deliberate knock on when Rainey looked set to exploit the short side down the left.


In the final play of the half, the forwards surged through the middle, splitting the Dolphin eight, to make further ground into the 22' where quick ruck ball left Michael O'Neill with a simple run in try.


The switching on of the floodlights at the interval coincided with the bright start Rainey made to the second half.  Full-back Devlin fielded a clearance to launch a counterattack which saw Brockschmidt soar through towards the posts.  After a series of pick and goes and changes of direction, they created numbers on the right, but a stray pass cost them a certain try.  Play, however,was brought back for a penalty and from a scrum, the forwards took it on for Ronan McCusker to go over for a vital try.


But a lacklustre home side had to play second fiddle as a spirited Dolphin kept them in their own half, moving the ball around nicely and retaining possession to leave the home crowd more than a bit anxious.  A great touch find from Magrath finally put Rainey in a strong field position and,when the pack took it on from the lineout, Magrath went over and added the conversion points with a fine kick. Five minutes later, Magrath sent Bresland charging through with his support arriving to leave O'Neill to secure a welcome, if unexpected, bonus point.


With two penalty tries helping Cashel to a great away win at Queen's, Rainey know that only their best form will do when they travel to Tipperary on Saturday.


TEAM: C.Devlin, A.Donaghy, D.McMurray, A,Magrath, M.O'Neill, M.Connolly, J.Bloomfield, A.McSwiggan, B.Roberts, J.McCusker, R.McCusker, A.Bratton, C.Smyth, C.Brockschmidt.

REPLACEMENTS: K.Donaghy, C.Fitzsimons, J.Bresland, C.Hume, M.McCusker.