Derry made to fight for victory by dogged Rainey
Rainey gave City of Derry a bit of a scare when they led the SONI Ulster Senior League leaders 12-10 at the interval but a much better second period helped the visitors to a 19-12 victory at Hatrick Park. Derry have a 16 point lead over Highfield with six games remaining although the Cork side have a game in hand.
Rainey looked the better team early on and warranted their advantage when Derry conceded too many penalties and Josh McIlroy was on target four times.
The visitors had scored the only try of the game by that stage when a forward rumble allowed hooker and captain David Ferguson to crash over for Neil Burns to goal. The visiting out-half Burns controlled the second period with accurate kicking that kept Rainey inside their own '22' for long periods. As the weather deteriorated Derry stamped their authority on the contest and the home team were deprived of possession. Burns, who was the man of the match was successful with three more penalties. There were only a few AIL games played but yet the powers that be failed to provide two assistant referees for the game.
Armagh travelled to bottom of the table Seapoint but could only come away with a 6-6 draw. Considering the adverse conditions they will probably be satisfied with the outcome but Seapoint will be even more so as they are still without a win. They now have seven points with Rainey and Dungannon in the penultimate position 13 points ahead. Johnny Pollock kicked a penalty in each half for the visitors.
In UCL 1 there was a much improved effort from Malone who managed to hold leaders Ballymena to a 10-10 draw. No score at half-time but Mark O'Connor kicked a penalty and converted a Ross Todd try for Malone while Kieran Joyce goaled a Roger McBurney score and also had a penalty for the visitors.