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Rainey are moving up in the world after holding their nerve

 

Leagues apart: Malone and Callum Smith miss out on promotion to 1A
Leagues apart: Malone and Callum Smith miss out on promotion to 1A
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Rainey Old Boys will be playing up a division in the All-Ireland League next season as they earned promotion to Division 2A with victory over Blackrock College in their play-off final.

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The Hatrick Park men, who finished third in Division 2B this season, emerged 33-21 victors at Stradbrook to earn the move up and go one better than they did last season when they lost the play-off final.

Leading 28-7 early in the second half, Rainey were hauled back to within a score when Paddy Magowan and Andrew Harbinson were both sin binned and Blackrock scored two quick tries.

However, a try from Aidan McSwiggan with the final play of the game ensured there'd be no late drama.

The Magharafelt men had forged ahead in the first half thanks to tries from Oisin Quinn, Brad Roberts and Mickey O'Neill, with fly-half Andy Magrath adding a try just after the restart and four conversions.

That means Rainey will face Ulster rivals Queen's University in Division 2A next season after the students missed out on promotion to Division 1B.

Queen's lost 34-19 away to Navan in their promotion play-off final at Balreask, the Leinster club's third promotion in as many years.

David Whitten scored two tries in a losing effort from Queen's, while Ali Burke's try in the dying stages of the game provided little consolation.

Navan were too good on the day, with James McInerney and Willie Staunton putting them two tries to the good, with McInerney's second score after the restart, allied with a Leigh Jackson score and a penalty try, putting them out of reach.

Meanwhile, Malone's hopes of becoming the second Ulster side to gain promotion to Division 1A fell at the first play-off hurdle as they lost their semi-final to UCC at the Mardyke, 27-11.

The Cregagh Red Sox had led at the interval as out-half Callum Smith kicked two penalties to UCC counterpart James Taylor's one in the first half.

But Taylor was on top form in the second half as he kicked a further nine points and scored a try of his own to go with further scores from Michael Clune and Murray Linn to take the students clear.

Winger Rory Campbell got a consolation score right at the end, but Malone will remain in Division 1B next season.

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