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U16 - Match centre

Rainey OB RFC
Letterkenny RFC
Sat 29 Dec 11:00 - League Kickoff 11:00

Rainey OB 17 - 26 Letterkenny

By

Rainey OB 17 - 26 Letterkenny

1. Dan Geoghegan
2. Eoin Parkinson
3. Finn Boyce
4. Conor Smyth
5. Jynaid Reyes
6. Isaac McElwaine
7. Mathew Duffy
8. Jack Speer - Captain

9. Ben Hopkins
10. Orrin Burgess
11. David Henry
12. Brian McGettigan
13. Tiernan McFadden
14. Leon Duffy
15. Kaymin Shortt
Subs: Finn Nicolas, Jayden Friel, Conor Mangan, Calum Orsi , Alex McDermott, Ewan Douglas & Eoin Harris

The mood pre match was one of calmness and quiet confidence, the lads were all focused and deep in thought as the coaches delivered their final instructions on what was a perfect morning for rugby in Rainey OB home ground in Magherafelt. The word from the home changing rooms is they were out to stop the fine run of form of the ever improving Letterkenny U 16s who were still on an unbeaten run for the season. As the lads left the changing rooms they were directed to the astro turf pitches despite the fact that the two main pitches were in perfect playing condition, a possible tactic was murmured on many a tongue on the side lines, however the Letterkenny lads took to the field unperturbed.
The ref called the 2 captains to the middle of the park and the coin was tossed and fell in favour of the home team who opted to receive the ball playing from right to left in a relatively wind free day with a mere light breeze blowing in Raineys favour for the off. Letterkenny win the ball from the off showing their intensions on the day and the ball is gathered from the back of a maul by Conor Smyth who shows he is up for it and makes 3 or 4 meters before being brought to the ground. Again Letterkenny with quick ball from Ben Hopkins run the ball out the line and it finds its way into the charging hands of the full back Kaymin Shortt who with a few fancy side steps makes 5 more meters before being steamrolled into touch, just 5 meters short by the home team who looked fired up for the encounter. Letterkenny continue to keep the pressure on with some fine forward play and some big tackles from Eoin Parkinson, Jack Speer and Issac to name but a few. This time Letterkenny win the line out with some fine jumping,tap the ball back but Rainey spoil by breaking through and taking out Ben at scrumhalf which is to be a feature of much of the line out play for the remainder of the day. Rainey again try and break from their 22 but Brian McGettigan with another huge tackle nails his man and manages to wrangle the ball back on the Letterkenny side. The ball is flashed out the line and into the hands of David Henry who makes 5 more meters before being brought down, but again the ball is quickly recycled and into the hands of Kaymin who makes ground only to be tackled around the neck, he jumps to his feet quickly and taps and goes and feeds his charging pack just short of the line but some strong defence sees Conor Smyth held up short.
Rainey this time turn the screw and with some good running themselves inside the Letterkenny half for the first time in the match where they set the maul and again quick hands across the back line sees the winger heading for the corner, but Kaymin Shortt who was fully alert to the threat brings his man down dragging him into touch with a crunching tackle. The line out again won by Letterkenny but spoiled and claimed back by the Rainey forwards who recycle the ball and present it to their backs who look destined to score but for an superb interception by the stampeding Orrin Burgess who takes the ball at full pace inside his own 22 and shows a clean pair of heels to the Rainey defenders who are forced to turn and chase him down unsuccessfully and he scores his first of the day to the left of the posts. Kaymin steps up and takes the conversion and the score after a tough 16 mins of play is 7 – 0 to the visitors.
Jack Speer gathers the ball in the air from the kick off and makes a good 10 meters of ground and feeds his oncoming pack, however the Rainey defence hold firm and mange to win the turnover on the ground and proceed to gain ground of their own when they are awarded a penalty on the 22 they opt to go for the corner and set the platform to try and get their first of the day, but the Letterkenny defence hold firm under buckets of pressure and are rewarded with a penalty of their own which Orrin dispatches to the side line just short of the half way line. This time Rainey steal the ball in the lineout and run the ball out wide with only Kaymin and Tiernan to beat, Rainey looked certain to score but the 2 lads took out their men and halted the attack and forced the ball into touch. Rainey are awarded a scrum on the 22 after a surging run from behind his own line by Orrin but the ball is forced from his hands and forward. This time Rainey win the scrum and with some quick hands of their own find a player in space who scores to the left of the posts about 10 meters in from the side line. With 5 mins left in the first half Rainey attempt the conversion but it comes off the right hand post and wide the score Letterkenny 7 – Rainey 5.
Letterkenny replacement, Jayden Friel on for Finn Boyce who took a knock with 4 mins to go to half time.
David Henry who has now switched to Full back takes a high ball in the air and goes on a great run making 5 meters where he feeds Ben Hopkins who in turn feeds Jack Speer who whips out a lovely pass to Orrin Burgess who takes it at speed and sucks in the winger down the left leaving space to put Brian McGettigan away and he doesn’t have to be asked twice to choose the perfect line to score under the posts. Kaymin steps up again and slots the conversion to leave the score with 2 mins on the clock at 14 – 5 to the visitors.
Rainey again come back hard with mins left and again look like scoring but this time Brian McGettigan flattens his man and strips the ball in the tackle to the applause of the nervous Letterkenny supports who knew their team were under huge pressure in the first half.
HT. Sub made with Ewan Douglas coming on for Leon Duffy.
Letterkenny receive the ball in the second half but the ref sees an infringement and awards the penalty to the home team who again kick to the corner. Letterkenny again show the goal line defence that they have shown all season and keep them out on this occasion. Again Rainey are award another penalty and they opt for a quick tap and go but Eoin Parkinson who tackled like a demon all day puts in another of his trade mark hits and holds them out. Rainey continues to probe and surge ever closer to the line until they finally manage to wear Letterkenny down and score their second of the day in the left corner. Conversion is missed and the score after 2 mins is Rainey 10 Letterkenny 14.
Rainey win a scrum on the 22 and try and run it out but the ball is spilled and Ewan Douglas puts boot to ball and chases it down but Rainey’s full back takes him into touch just a few meters short.
8 mins in and the coaches decide to bring on some fresh legs with Conor Mangan coming in for Conor Smyth. Letterkenny maintain the pressure and hold Rainey inside their own 22 for a series of phases but Rainey are awarded another penalty and relieve the pressure with a kick to the half way line. Letterkenny continue to pressure the Rainey lineout and force a turn over when the ball hits the deck, the ball is quickly fed out through the hands and Orrin Burgess who was moved to second centre crashes over for his second of the day in the right hand corner. Conversion is missed this time and the score is now 19 – 10 to the visitors after 14 mins of play.
Rainey continue to pressure and are awarded yet another penalty which they kick to the corner for the lineout. The Letterkenny defence again holds firm for the initial attack but with determination and perseverance Rainey manages to score their third of the day to the left of the posts. Conversion is good and with the score at 19 – 17 in favour of the visitors Letterkenny were going to have to dig deep with still 14 mins on the clock.
With several more penalties conceded by both sides the game is in stale mate with neither side able to conjure up that bit of magic to see them cross the white wash, Letterkenny make their final sub of the day with Eoin Harris coming on for Mathew Duffy with 5 mins left on the clock.
Letterkenny who look dead on their feet at this stage after some huge tackles by every man and the ground taking its toll on the day, mount one final effort after winning a scrum midway between the halfway and Rainey 22, Ben feeds Kaymin who opts for a skip pass whipping the ball out to the outreached hands of his second center Orrin Burgess who again puts everything he has left in the tank into this final attack and crashes over in the right corner. Conversion this time is taken by Orrin who is successful and leaves the score at Letterkenny 26 – 17 Rainey with only 2 mins to play.
Letterkenny stand firm for the final mins and the score remains at 26 – 17 for a well fought and deserved victory by the lads.
Well done players, coaches and parents that travelled to watch and enthralling game that could have gone either way.

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