Monday 23 July 2018

Skerries see the sunshine on Rainey day

Rainey Old Boys 23 Skerries 8

Skerries returned home pointless from Saturday's tricky assignment in Magherafelt but took some positives from a much improved performance.

There were some team selection changes for the game against Rainey Old Boys who had won their last six matches and before that only lost by a point to league leaders Old Crescent in their first match of the season.

The Goats started brightly and after 10 minutes Billy Mulcahy kicked an excellent penalty to give Skerries the lead after a period of great possession.

The Skerries lineout was functioning very well, with Joe Glennon in particular leading by example.

However, after a period of sustained pressure from the hosts their excellent fly half kicked a penalty after 15 minutes to level the score.

Skerries responded in great fashion with a well-worked try by Conor Lennox after good work by Michael Sherlock and Ross Dempsey in midfield.

Rainey responded with another penalty, but Skerries looked like holding out for an 8-6 interval lead - only for Rainey to hit them with a sucker punch just before the short whistle.

Their opening try gave them a 13-8 interval lead and the all-important momentum, as well as leaving Skerries with it all to do in the second period.

Rainey poured on the pressure in the second half, but the Skerries defence was excellent.

Led by an excellent performance by the entire back row - Peter O'Neill, Thomas O'Hare and Barry Murphy - their tackle count was immense. There was no score for 20 minutes and then Rainey scored a penalty to extend their lead to 16-8.

Even then Skerries were very much in the game and they made changes, with Ross Halligan, Dara Lowndes, David Goodman, Jim Mulvaney and Vinny Watson all entering the fray to give the away side fresh legs.

The momentum changed and Skerries started to move the ball wide and made many opportunities, but unfortunately they couldn't get across the line.

In the last few minutes Rainey scored a try and converted it to extend their lead to 15 and make absolutely sure of victory.

However, the 23-8 scoreline was not a real reflection on the performance put in by the Skerries team.

The front row of Cormac Marrey, Chris Tonge and Mark Nally fought bravely against a tough opposition unit and Tom Mulvaney also battled hard. Eoghan Carron had a huge defensive game and Billy Mulcahy kept the team going forward.

Paul Devitt showed plenty of promise in the second half and Ruairi Woods started on the wing and then moved to scrum half and put in a fine performance.

Whilst Barry Murphy was outstanding in the first half and his tackle count was huge, the Skerries man of the match was arguably debutant full back Lennox who not only scored the try but was very assured throughout the whole game.

Overall this was a much improved display by the Skerries side and augurs well for the double fixture with Barnhall in the next two weeks.

SKERRIES: Conor Lennox; Ruairi Woods, Ross Dempsey, Michael Sherlock, Paul Devitt; Billy Mulcahy, Eoghan Carron; Cormac Marrey, Chris Tonge, Mark Nally; Joe Glennon, Tom Mulvaney; Peter O'Neill, Thomas O'Hare, Barry Murphy. Replacements: Vinny Watson, Ross Halligan, Jim Mulvaney, Dara Lowndes, David Goodman.

Fingal Independent