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Rainey make big case for the defence

By Peter Hutcheon

After conceding far too many tries at the start of the season Rainey Endowed coach Charlie Simpson was delighted as his side managed to shut out Antrim Grammar as they booked themselves a place in the third round.

Rainey came through 12-0 with an unconverted try by Ronan McKcKernan and a second from captain Paul Heaney which was converted by scrum half Ben Simpson.

"To go though without conceding a point was tremendous," Simpson said.

"Defence was something that we have put a lot of emphasis on after the start of the year when we were giving away too many tries.

"They put us under a lot of pressure at times so to hold out was excellent."

Although they wanted a home draw in the next round after travelling to Antrim, Simpson says the local derby with Royal School Dungannon was the next best thing.

"We had tremendous support on Saturday with a lot of people coming from Magherafelt," he added. "Dungannon is a derby so we can expect to bring a lot of people with us.

"They always put out tough teams and it's not going to be easy, but it's certainly one to look forward to."

Simpson hopes to have regular outhalf Scott Simpson back in harness for the third round.

He missed Saturday's win after damaging an ankle in training.

"We brought in Kyle Hyndman from the second XV as his replacement and he did extremely well," he said.

"Both the back rows did exceptionally well and it was pleasing to see both of them getting on the scoresheet.

"And our full-back Jamie Cassidy coped well with everything that they threw at him."

Rainey were the dominant force in the first half with the pack getting well on top early on.

They should perhaps have made more of that pressure but McKernan's score from a forward surge was the only thing they had to show for their efforts at the break. Antrim came back strongly at the start of the second half but they fact that they came away empty-handed was a huge boost to Rainey morale.

The second try came from a break by Chris Evans and he was able to feed Heaney who did exceptionally well to break a couple of tackles, running in the score from just inside the 22. Simpson's conversion made it 12-0.

"They put us under a lot of pressure at the start of the second half but out defence was superb," added Mr Simpson.

"The lead was only 5-0 at that point and if they had come back and scored it might have been a different story."

Belfast Telegraph


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