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Connemara Squeeze Past Rainey

Connemara Squeeze Past Rainey

Connemara have closed the gap on ninth-placed Rainey Old Boys to just one point in AIB League Division Three after scoring a 14-13 victory over the Magherafelt side at Monastery Field last Saturday.

AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION THREE: Saturday, April 4

CONNEMARA 14 RAINEY OLD BOYS 13, Monastery Field

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Scorers: Connemara: Try: Michael Aspell; Pens: Sean Joyce 3
Rainey Old Boys: Try: Peter Boyle; Con: Gavin Martin; Pens: Gavin Martin 2

Michael Aspell claimed an injury-time try as a late show from Connemara gave the Galway side four much-needed league points at Monastery Field.

Having suffered three straight defeats, Connemara moved clear of relegation trouble with a battling display against the men from Derry.

This game, played in sunny but windy conditions, swung one way and then the other. Connemara pressed early and three successful penalty strikes from scrum half Sean Joyce had the home side 9-0 ahead at half-time.

Really, Joyce’s side should have converted two try-scoring opportunities before his opening penalty kick after 12 minutes.

Connacht’s Troy Nathan was an influential presence at out-half and he kept Connemara on the front foot with some big touchfinders and swift passing.

As the half wore on, Rainey began to stamp their authority on the set pieces, securing an increased amount of possession but Connemara’s defence was giving little away and Joyce’s third success after 31 minutes put more than a converted try between the teams.

Rainey’s powerhouse pack continued to put pressure on their opponents at the start of the second half, with the wind now behind them.

However, they remained scoreless until out-half Gavin Martin bisected the posts with the first of his two penalty goals.

Rainey enjoyed a real purple patch up to the hour mark. Irish Colleges international Andrew Kerr almost unlocked the home defence as Rainey pressed off a close range lineout.

Winger James McBride got Rainey back within scoring range with a well-executed kick and chase attack.

Soon after, the Rainey forwards made the hard yards and prop Peter Boyle forced his way over for a try, after both Richard McCrea and Nathan Amos were held up short.

Martin’s conversion put Rhys Botha’s men into a 10-9 lead and an offside decision allowed Martin add a further three points.

But Connemara kept themselves competitive and the sin-binning of Rainey centre Neal Suiter allowed them more control in the final quarter.

And after a kicking error from Rainey scrum half Michael Wilson, the men from the west engineered a dramatic try.

A simple case of numbers out wide left McBride exposed as he tried gamely to defend a kick and Aspell hared up to seize the breaking ball and crash over the try-line.