Rainey ES U16s progress in soccer cup


On Monday 7th December the Rainey ES U16 boys made the long distant journey to Kilkeel in what was an eagerly anticipated 2nd round plate match against Kilkeel High School. With the recent storms and heavy winds going around Northern Ireland, Rainey ES manager Ricky Henderson knew it would be a tough match for his boys and told them they would have to battle for every ball if they wanted to progress.



Rainey Captain Jonny Carson won the toss and chose to play against the wind in the first half. Rainey started off well and came out of the blocks early with Matt Currie and Sam Hardy linking up well on the right hand side, and it was from a Sam Hardy ball that put David Dripps in to lob the Kilkeel keeper and put Rainey 1-0 up inside the first 5 minutes.  From this, Rainey pushed on again playing some nice football in the middle of the park with Harry Evans and Pearce McLarnon pulling the strings in centre midfield. The ball was moved quickly up field to the feet of Stephen Greer who drove at the Kilkeel defence and slipped in David Dripps who then pulled the ball square for David Lennox to tap it in. Rainey 2-0 up with just 10 minutes played.



At the restart Kilkeel came straight back at Rainey, immediately breaking through the midfield and defence only for Jack Breslin to come rushing out of his goal to collect the ball and get Rainey back in possession. With Rainey playing against the wind, Kilkeel took advantage and hoofed the ball up the pitch which made it hard for Centre halves Jason Dripps and Jonny Carson to judge in the air. From these long balls Kilkeel scored 2 goals in quick succession to bring the score line level and put disappointment on the Rainey faces. Rainey again were pegged back in and conceded 5 minutes before half time to let Kilkeel lead. Half time Kilkeel 3-2 Rainey.



Rainey went into the second half knowing they had to lift their performance and take their chances when they came. The ref blew his whistle for the second half to commence and Rainey attacked with Harry Evans and David Lennox on the left hand side, David played a lovely ball through to David Dripps only for the Kilkeel keeper to collect. Kilkeel came straight back at the Rainey boys and punished a mistake at the back to put themselves 4-2 up. Rainey skipper Jonny Carson then decided to make a tactical change, pushing Pearce Mclarnon further up the pitch and bringing Stephen Greer back into midfield along with Harry Evans. Rainey then pressed the Kilkeel defence and played some lovely football on the edge of the box for Pearce to slip in David Lennox for his effort to be rebounded off a Kilkeel defender and into the back of the net. Kilkeel 4-3 Rainey. At the kick off, Rainey won the ball early and used the momentum with them to put the Kilkeel defence under tremendous pressure. It was turning into an end to end game with Kilkeel counter attacking the Rainey boys and forcing some more great stops from Rainey keeper Jack Breslin. However Rainey kept probing and eventually equalised when Pearce Mclarnon ran at the Kilkeel defence beating three men and smashing the ball into the top left corner of the net with his weaker foot! Kilkeel 4-4 Rainey.


Now Ricky’s men really had the momentum with them and again from great play up the right hand side, Sam Hardy once again played in Pearce for him to lob the keeper and make it 5-4 to the Rainey boys! Pearce getting his second goal of the match and Sam his second assist! Kilkeel 4-5 Rainey.



Michael McIvor-New then came on to replace Matt Currie to sturdy the Rainey’s defence. In the last ten minutes of the game, Kilkeel put Rainey under enormous pressure and it showed when Rainey skipper Jonny switched off for a split second to allow the Kilkeel striker through only for Jack Breslin to pull off yet another tremendous save, but huge credit went to Kaelum Irvine who was alert inside his own box to clear the rebound shot off the line to keep Rainey in the lead. In the final minutes of the game, Kaelum again showed great awareness to keep the Kilkeel winger out with some vital interceptions! The final whistle blew and Rainey had won! 5-4 the final score with “Ricky’s Red and White Army” reaching a soccer quarter-final for the first time in their history! Huge congratulations to all the boys who took part and the best of luck for the Quarter-final in February!