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U18 Ulster Carpets Cup 31st March 2017
Scorers: C.Corr(1*Try), N.Corr(1*Try), Clarke(1*Try), McGlone(2*Try), O’Neill(1*Try), Diamond(1*Try), Kearns(2*Conv), Friel(3*Conv)


After their mid-week exertions in the Nutty Krust Cup, when they knocked out Malone by 57-3, Rainey were understandably slow out of the blocks when they met Virginia in the cup quarter final at Hatrick Park.  Although finally running out 47 – 3 winners, the result was in the balance for most of the first half, before they finally pulled clear.


Opening strongly, Rainey methodically worked their way downfield via a series of penalties and lineouts, but they botched a short lineout on the 5m to hand the initiative to the visitors.  They cleared their lines with a great kick back to the Rainey 10m, but the Rainey fullback McCann gathered successfully and counterattacked.  The forwards went through a couple of phases, then outhalf Friel fired a long pass out to centre Kearns, who almost made it to the line before popping the ball up for second-row C.Corr to crash over.  Kearns converted.


Virginia responded well, putting Rainey under pressure and getting close to the line on a couple of occasions, but in the end they settled for a penalty.  From the restart, Rainey pressed hard, but a great breakout by the Virginia outhalf took him to the Rainey 22m before a great cover tackle by flanker Clarke gave the Rainey defence time to reorganise.  The game then see-sawed for a period, with neither side able to gain dominance, before Rainey forced a 5m penalty between the posts.  The forwards drove for the line and lock N.Corr crashed over for Rainey’s second.  Kearns converted once more.


The restart proved to be Virginia’s undoing.  When the ball was kicked dead, Rainey opted for the scrum on halfway.  Picking up at the base, No8 Clarke broke right and eluded the Virginia flanker to break the defensive line.  From there it was a straight footrace to the line which he won easily.  For once Kearns was off-target when the conversion hit the post.


Rainey started the second half in a much more determined frame of mind.  Where previously their game had been strewn with errors, now moves and passes were being executed with greater accuracy and the effect was immediate.  They forced a penalty, Friel kicked superbly for the corner, and from the resulting lineout the maul was unstoppable with McGlone getting the touchdown.  Friel added the extras.


10 mins later the scenario was repeated, this time with a great drive by flanker Leacock before McGlone got his second.  Friel was again on target.  Virginia had another good spell, coming close on a couple of occasions, but a high tackle by the Virginia No10 was rewarded with a yellow card, which became red following some backchat.  Rainey won another penalty 10m out.  Again they took the tap and spun the ball out left for replacement winger Diamond to go over in the corner. Friel converted.


Rainey finished with a final flourish as another penalty 10m out was tapped and spun right.  A great pass from centre Feathers released replacement prop O’Neill who crossed for Rainey’s seventh try which was once more converted by Friel.


Rainey can now look forward to three semi-finals as they continue their hunt for silverware to finish the season.