Rainey Old Boys 14
Greystones secured their thirteenth successive victory of the AIL Division 2B campaign with a 19-14 win over Rainey Old Boys in Magherafelt last Saturday. The win, coupled with the defeat of their nearest pursuers Galway Corinthians sees their lead at the head of the Energia AIL Div 2B extended to six points with five matches remaining.
This win was fashioned through a controlled Greystones performance that kept the scoreboard ticking over thanks to three penalties and a conversion from man of the match Killian Marmion, an audacious drop goal from full-back Ross Nichol and an opportunist try from player coach Danny Kenny.
The hosts posted their intent early on and coached by former Italian International Ian McKinley adopted a game plan targeted at disrupting Greystones’ potent backline and slowing the game down.
This tactic proved to be largely successful for Rainey and somewhat against the run of play they secured the opening score 10 minutes in. With Greystones defending outside of their 22, Rainey scrum-half Rory MacGinty spotted gap and broke through to run in under the posts.
The Greystones response was almost immediate. Marmion sent the restart long and Rainey cleared to touch outside their 22 with the ball cleanly gathered by David Baker standing in touch.
Realising a quick lineout throw was on he popped the ball to Danny Kenny who ran almost unopposed into the corner while the Rainey players looked to the referee expecting play to be called back.
The referee called the try as good and Killian Marmion nailed a touchline conversion to level the scores.
Marmion clearly had his kicking boots on and in consort with his brother, team captain Eoin, realised points were going to be at a premium and chose to manage the game by opting to take any points on offer.
He edged Greystones into the lead on the 20-minute mark with a long-range penalty struck from between the ten-meter and halfway line and repeated the move five minutes later with a similar strike from almost the same position.
With a 13-7 lead Greystones enjoyed a period of dominance, attacking the Rainey line only for the home defense to stand firm. Kenny thought he had crossed for a second try but the referee signaled the ball had been held up and awarded a goal line drop out.
Rainey out-half Scott McLean cleared the ball long and straight into the arms of Greystones full-back Ross Nichol who was standing in space midway between the 22 and ten-meter lines. ichol steadied himself and eyed up a drop goal that flew straight and true through the Rainey posts to extend the Greystones advantage to nine points at the halfway point.
The second period was dominated by defenses as both sides dug in and held their line secure despite repeated moves.
Andrew Lynch almost got the half off to a flying start for Greystones when he broke through for a run to the line in the first minutes but the Rainey scrambling defense stopped him short of a score.
Thereafter the match descended into a stop start affair, the nature of the game not helped by set piece offenses with the referee sharing the scrum penalties more or less evenly and an above average number of lineouts resulting in knock ons or crooked throws.
While the Greystones coaching team will take pointers to work on ahead of the next round of fixtures they will be heartened by the disciplined defending and turnovers won close to the line.
Killian Marmion added his third penalty mid-way through the second half to extend the lead to 12 points and held that advantage through to the final play of the game when Rainey pressure on the Greystones line finally told as second row McCusker crashed over to secure his side a losing bonus point.
Player coach Danny Kenny was pleased with the workmanlike performance of his side highlighting the contribution of the whole 23-man squad with each of the players coming off the bench making big impacts at key moments.
Greystones are back in action at Dr Hickey Park next Saturday when sixth-place Sligo arrive buoyed up by a confidence boosting late win against Wanderers at the weekend.
Greystones: Ross Nichol, Ferdia Kenny, Andrew Lynch, Con Callan, Tommy New, Killian Marmion, David Baker, Iva Takatai, Rob Byrne Conor Pearse, Eoin Marmion (Capt.), Jack Dooley, Adam Benson, Conor McAleer, Danny Kenny. Replacements: Michael Douglas, Dan Mannion, Ken Murphy, Mick Doyle, Matt O’Brien.
Rainey Old Boys: Moli Faiva, Mickey O’Neill, Damien McMurray, Conor Fitzsimmons, Tom Crozier, Scott MLean, Rory McGinty, Tommy O’Hagan, Daniel O’Neill, Aidan McSwiggan, John McCusker, Ronan McCusker. Replacements; Andrew Nevin, Deaglean McErlean, Conor Smyth, Bryan Hall, Andrew Donnaghy.