Town’s Cup 1st February 2020

Scorers: Kearns(1*Try), N.Hastings(1*Try), Mulholland(1*Try), Evans(1*Conv)



Rainey II’s short run in the Towns Cup came to an abrupt halt on Saturday, when they were defeated 24 – 17 by a strong Omagh II team.  In a bruising encounter, easily the most physical of the season so far, the main difference between the two sides was in the battle up front.  The bigger, heavier pack of the Tyrone side  gained an early advantage in the scrums and despite their best efforts, the Rainey forwards spent a torrid afternoon trying defiantly to hold them at bay.


Starting with the wind at their backs, Rainey made a brief foray into the Omagh half, but were soon sent back to their own 22’ before a great Rainey turnover allowed them to relieve the pressure.  With big hits going in all over the park, neither side was able to gain a definite advantage.  A great kick from Kearns into the corner came to nothing , before a scything solo break by N.Hastings eventually got Rainey into an attacking position 5m out.  When the ball was held up, Rainey won the resulting scrum and Kearns drove for the line, stretching to touch down.


No8 Smyth and Centre G.Hall had good runs, but when the referee missed a blatant infringement, the ball was turned over and suddenly it was all Omagh.  Rainey had to tackle desperately to keep them a bay, led by O’Neill and Doherty, who put in one massive hit after another.  A fine turnover by O’Neill and Rutledge allowed Kearns to clear the lines, but back came Omagh, their back line tearing through a gap in the Rainey defence, only to be thwarted by fullback Evans and winger Jeffers right in the corner.  Try as they might, Rainey couldn’t get out of their half, and as the interval approached, Omagh camped on the Rainey line.  They forced scrum, after scrum, pushing the lighter Rainey pack back time after time, until they conceded a pushover try with the final play of the half.  With the conversion good, Rainey trailed by two points.


Almost from the restart they were in trouble again, with flanker B.Hall lucky not to be carded for accidentally taking an Omagh player out in the air.  Omagh kicked for the corner, and their pack duly mauled their way over for a second score, topped off by a superb conversion.  Although Rainey were still trying to play to their strengths, it was one of those days when the little things kept going wrong.  A dropped pass, a sliced kick, all added up to create an air of frustration in the team and it was no surprise when flanker Brown saw yellow for a tip tackle.


A few minutes later, Omagh put the result beyond doubt with their third try.  From  an attacking scrum outside the Rainey 22m line, the Omagh scrum-half broke right then fed the ball back inside for his left-winger  to carve open the Rainey defence.  With the extras added, followed soon afterwards by a penalty, Rainey were now only playing for pride.  Omagh lost a player to the bin for a vicious high tackle, which galvanised the Magherafelt men.  At long last, things started to fall in their favour.  They surged into the home 22’ went through a few pick and drives then spun the ball right for centre Mulholland to score.


As the game headed into its final minutes, Rainey went for one last charge.  From a lineout just inside their own half, Kearns barrelled up the middle of the park, scattering the defence.  N.Hastings and O’Neill drove it closer, before a lovely little offload to Hastings again, allowed him to cut through the defence and dive over at the posts.  Evans added the conversion to bring the proceedings to a close.


Team:  A.Nevin, D.O'Neill, D.McErlain, A.Doherty, N.Hastings, A.Brown, B.Hall, C.Smyth, L.Quinn, R.Kearns, N.Jeffers, G.Hall, M.Mulholland, M.Friel, H.Evans


Replacements: S.Rutledge, J.Hastings