Rainey Old Boys 34 Buccaneers 10

Rainey old boys emerged comfortable winners over Buccaneers in the first ever meeting of the two clubs in the Energia All-Ireland League at Hatrick Park, Magherafelt on Saturday.

The Derry side got the scoreboard working early on their way to a 34-10 Division 1A victory writes Michael Silke.

The hosts opened the scoring when Kennedy was penalised after eight minutes, Andrew Magrath converting for three points.

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Six minutes later Callum Boland put in a try-saving tackle but the recycled ball saw Buccs infringed allowing Magrath to double their lead.

In between, Corey Reid had made a threatening break for Buccs but held on to possession in the tackle and Rainey were grateful for a relieving penalty.

The Ulster side were fortuitous after 18 minutes when a home player slid feet first to a grounded Buccaneers defender which should have yielded a penalty to the visitors.

However referee John Carville allowed play continue and Rainey profited with a penalty try for a 13-0 lead by the end of the opening quarter.

The Pirates then had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard but Michael Hanley was off-target with a kickable 20th minute penalty.

Eight minutes later a wild pass in midfield caused consternation in the midlanders ranks as Rainey hacked the loose ball forward.

Boland won the race with Magrath to secure possession but Shane Layden’s attempted clearance was blocked down by Jason Bloomfield, who then reacted swiftest to ground the ball for an opportunist try. Magrath duly slotted the conversion as Buccs trailed 20-0 at half-time.

Buccs made a tonic start to the second half with the lively Boland making a terrific break and, in the follow up play. Evan Galvin surged over at the right corner for an unconverted 43rd minute try.

Rainey had let a 17-3 interval lead evaporate at Nenagh and the handful of Pirates supporters briefly hoped of a repeat.

Buccs got a quick opportunity to add to their tally with a 47th minute penalty following a high tackle but again elected to kick to touch to no avail.

Eight minutes later, Rainey forced a penalty in front of the visitors’ posts and opted for a scrum. Their big pack drove relentlessly to the line where the alert Bloomfield pounced for his second try with Magrath again adding the conversion.

Three minutes later the northerners notched a bonus point try. There appeared to be a clear case of crossing in the build-up but centre Magrath made the most of play being allowed to continue to run in for a try between the uprights, his conversion giving Rainey a 34-5 advantage.

Buccaneers belatedly came alive in the final ten minutes when their wingers eventually got some possession. O’Reilly took a smart throw-in to Saul O’Carroll who returned possession to O’Reilly, the winger weaved his way past a number of defenders for an excellent but unconverted try wide on the left to reduce the arrears to 34-10.

Shortly after this 71st minute score, a quick tap and go by Frankie Hopkins saw the scrumhalf career through the home rear-guard but he lacked sufficiently swift support and a real try chance was missed.

Rainey Old Boys: C.Devlin, A.Donaghy, C.Fitzsimons, A.Magrath, M.O’Neill, M.Connolly, J.Bloomfield (c), A.McSwiggan, B.Roberts, F.Quinn, J.Bresland, R.McCusker, A.Harbison, J.McAuley, M.Millar

Rolling substitutes: K.Donaghy, C.Hume, M.McCusker, M.Mulholland, M.Poskitt.

Buccaneers: C.Boland, E.O’Reilly, S.Layden (c) (M.Hanley 75), D.Corbett, M.Hanley (R.Murphy-Sweeney 72), F.Hopkins, M.Murphy (S.O’Connell 34), R.Grenham (D.Browne 40), M.Staunton, T.Rensford (C.Reid 75), M.Kennedy (S.Kroupa 15), E.Galvin, R.Moloney (M.Kennedy 44 (R.Grenham 62)), C.Maulaulau

Referee: John Carville (IRFU)