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Rainey are aiming to hit new heights

Looking up: John Andrews will hope to carry on from last year
Looking up: John Andrews will hope to carry on from last year

By Michael Sadlier

After securing promotion to Division 2A through last April's play-offs, Rainey Old Boys are hoping to continue this season in a similar vein.

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Coach John Andrews' side travel to Nenagh - who finished eighth in 2A last time out - for their opening fixture off the back of an impressive start to their Ulster League season, though they are only too aware that the AIL is a considerable step up.

Rainey travel in fairly confident mood and have a strong side with brothers Ronan and John McCusker in the second-row, though South African Conor Brockschmidt is still recovering from injury.

Queen's University return to the scene of last season's play-off semi-final win when they rack up at Dubarry Park to face Buccaneers, that result ensuring that the Connacht side were relegated from 1B.

The students, who finished fourth in the last campaign and who lost out on promotion at Navan, plan to push on this time.

Queen's coach Derek Suffern said: "Going down there and winning last season will give our boys confidence."

Also in 2A, Ballymena, who have taken the drop from 1B, are at newly-promoted Barnhall.

In 2B, Dungannon host Blackrock while Belfast Harlequins welcome Wanderers.

Bangor's last-day escape from the relegation zone in 2C has focused minds this time around and new Director of Rugby Tom Rock intends to get the club moving in the right direction when they host Sundays Well.

"We've hopefully put last season behind us," said Rock.

"We feel we're in a good place and that we will challenge this time around."

Also in 2C, City of Derry host Bruff while Omagh are at newly-promoted Clonmel.

2A: Buccaneers v Queen's University, MU Barnhall v Ballymena, Nenagh v Rainey OB.

2B: Belfast Harlequins v Wanderers, Dungannon v Blackrock College.

2C: Bangor v Sundays Well, City of Derry v Bruff, Clonmel v Omagh.

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