McCambley Cup 2nd Round 21st December 2019

Scorers: Irvine (1*Try, 1*Con), Campton (1*Try)

Rainey IV travelled to Kilraughts to face Ballymoney IV in the second round of the McCambley Cup.  Having been perpetual finalists for the past number years, and winners on the last two occasions, Ballymoney were cofident favourites on the day, given they had narrowly defeated Rainey earlier in the season.


Showing several changes from the previous encounter,  Rainey soaked up enormous pressure right from the off, as the Ballymoney forwards tried to gain dominance. However, first up tackles from second-rows Ryan Hill and Kyle Campton and back-row men Ciaran McIvor and Richard McCrea continually knocked them back, forcing a series of knock-ons.  In the scrums, the front row of Owen Mallon, Michael Lee and Evergreen prop Neil O’Kane kept the home scrum under immense pressure, denying them the momentum they sought.  Finally, through a series of penalties, Ballymoney breached Rainey’s 22'.  Patiently, they went through a number of phases before their out-half found a gap to nip through the visitors' defence to score under the posts and give an easy conversion.


This was the wake up call Rainey needed and they came to life with multiple strong carries by the forwards.  With the backs getting more ball, half-backs Richard Paul and Kenny Irvine kept pinging the ball behind the Ballymoney back three.  From one such kick, Ballymoney's fullback fumbled the ball, and the chasing Irvine hacked the ball through to also score under the posts, the conversion rdawing Rainey level. With tensions rising, Ballymoney had a player see yellow just before half-time.


Shuffling their pack, Rainey added prop Seamus O’Neill, allowing O’Kane to move to second row.  Immediately, the fresh legs showed their effect as the resurgent Rainey forwards went on the offensive once more.  With fullback Eoghan Kennedy raining searching kicks over the Ballymoney defence, and sharp following up by wingers Joel Wylie, Aaron Bradley and replacement Simon Andrews, Rainey kept Ballymoney in their own 22' for the majority of the second half, crossing the line an incredible six times, only for the ball to continually be deemed to be held up.


Rainey’s winner finally came from a scrum in the last quarter of the game. Ballymoney lost a second player to the bin, and Rainey opted for a 5m scrum.  When the pack put the squeeze on, scrum-half Paul went blind blind before slipping the ball inside to the on-coming No8 McCrea. He drove and popped the ball up for the unstoppable Campton to burst through for a try to the right of sticks.


With the conversion missed, the remainder of the game saw Ballymoney attempting repeatedly to play to their strengths through their forwards.  But, it was not to be and Rainey duly brought the holders' triumphant McCambley Cup run to an end.

Team: Owen Mallon, Michael Lee, Neil O’Kane, Ryan Hill, Kyle Campton, Gareth Bryson, Ciaran McIvor, Richard Paul, Kenny Irvine, Joel Wylie, Neal Suiter, Paul Suiter, Aaron Bradley, Eoghan Kennedy

Subs: Seamus O’Neill, Damien McPeake, Simon Andrews