After a welcome short break, it’s back to the grindstone for Rainey Old Boys who have four important fixtures in the next few weeks
Three of the games will take place in the AIL while the other is in the Senior Cup.
First up is the long trip to Clifden on Saturday where they play Connemara at the Monastery Field. The Blacks had a good season under new coach Peter Bracken last time round and beat the Old Boys at Hatrick Park with a freak try during their mid-season dip in form.
But the Westerners have struggled in their first four games and have yet to pick up a point. Rainey will not be underestimating them, knowing from experience that they can be a tough nut to crack on home territory.
After the disappointment of Jonny Shiels’ enforced retirement, the new faces have settled in well and the match day squad has taken on a more familiar look. Number eight Paddy Mc Gowan should return from a groin strain, but replacements will have to be found for Conor O’Neill (shoulder) and Alan McCluggage (knee).
Michael Pyper, if available, and Alex McGlaughlin, on the strength of some fine displays for the Seconds, would be obvious contenders for consideration while Paul Heaney could be the answer to their back-row problems.
Hot favourites, Malone will be everyone’s choice to emerge victorious when they face Rainey in the semi-final of the First Trust Ulster Senior Cup at Gibson Park on November 24. Ulster-contracted players are barred from this competition ,but the Cregagh club has a number of Ravens and Ulster U20 players to call upon.
Sligo come to Magherafelt for the first time on December 1. A narrow home success against Clonakilty isall they have to show for their five outings.
Rainey cannot afford to take them lightly having required a last-minute try to snatch the points at Strandhill last season.
And on December 8, Rainey travel to Shawsbridge to play Instonians.
Boyne v Naas
Instonians v Nenagh
Navan v Thomond
Barnhall v Clonakilty
Skerries v Armagh
Sligo v Ards
Suttonians v Sunday’s Well
Dromore II v Rainey Old Boys III
Cavan II v Rainey Old Boys IV
Members are reminded of the TABLE QUIZ on Friday,23 November. Proceeds to MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT.Commencng 9pm.