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Rainey on top but face tough championship run-in

By Ronnie Ingram

Rainey III maintained their lead in Junior 3 following a 29-5 win over Limavady II but still have to face both their main rivals for the title – Omagh III and Queen's III.

The Magherafelt team have 18 points from 12 games while Omagh and Queen's have each played nine and have 16 and 14 points respectively.

The last time these two sides met, Rainey won 26-11 but this was a much changed Limavady outfit who dominated possession for the first 10 minutes.

The home team was really tested and Ciaran McNamee was called upon to make some crunching tackles. Eventually, Rainey began to settle and the first try came after Connor O'Kane charged down a clearance kick for Gavin McGuckin to pounce on the ball.

Scrum-half Lennox then linked with Stephen Beattie, who ran through a couple of defenders to stretch for the line.

Paddy Kelly and Ryan Deehan made a few penetrating runs and looked dangerous, before Kenny Irvine cut through to go under the posts for his fifth try of the season and add the conversion.

Within two minutes, following good work by Lennox and Geoff Ewing, Tiernan Walsh, making his comeback after a two-year absence, showed he had lost none of his old skills to touch down for the second goaled try to make it 19-0 at the interval.

Captain Colin Campbell had a hand in the fourth try. He said: "Geoff Ewing and I combined to take the ball well into Limavady territory, where Neil Lennox gave a quick pop pass to the ever-improving Connor O'Kane and he barged over for Kenny Irvine to convert.

"At this stage, we were controlling the possession and Ciaran McNamee and Mark Donnelly set up good attacking ball, but a visiting defender was adjudged off-side so Irvine added the penalty," he stated.

Limavady still attempted to fight back, taking up a position inside home '22' and were justly rewarded when No 8 Daniel King crashed over.

Campbell felt his team took too long to show their superiority. "We travel to Queen's on Saturday for the first of our two fixtures against them and will need to stamp our authority early on," he said.

"After that our three remaining games are at home, one of which is against Omagh III, a side we overcame earlier 40-15.

"Our man of the match was Geoff Ewing, who captained the firsts in 1997. He was outstanding in defence and a thorn in the side of Limavady," he concluded.

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