Bank of Ireland All Ireland League Division 2B
Rainey Old Boys 71, City of Derry 0
Rainey Old Boys maintained the pressure on All Ireland League Division 2B leaders Old Crescent with an 11-try stroll against a City of Derry side that already looks resigned to relegation.
What little chance the Judges Road men had of retaining their 2A status disappeared with the recent five point deduction imposed for failing to field in a pre-Christmas fixture against Armagh, a ruling to left Derry rooted to the bottom on zero points. Still struggling to even get a team out, they are unlikely to move from that position between now and the end of the season despite a dedicated core of players who carrying the club at present.
Rainey had watched Crescent grab five points on Friday evening thanks to a home victory over Sunday's Well and knew they had to respond in kind to stay in touch. They had no need to worry.
One look at Derry's points conceded tally, which now stands at minus 367 following this game, illustrated that the home side would get opportunities and they did, going over 11 times with No. 8 Jody McMurray grabbing four and out-half Andrew Magrath underlining why he is so highly rated with some superb kicks (he converted eight of the tries) on an afternoon when he didn't have to get out of second gear.
Derry were spirited but spirit alone isn't enough in the AIL and Rainey were in no mood to take things easy with the pursuit of Crescent uppermost in their thoughts but they bonus point was wrapped up inside 22 minutes. From there it was only a question of how many points John Andrews team would rack up.
The Rainey pack dominated the set-pieces to such an extent that even a Derry line-out was a base for a home attack and two of McMurray's tries came from push-over scrum in which the visiting pack was sent backward at a rate of knots.
The big No. 8 opened the scoring on five minutes after sustained pressure in the opening minutes with winger Michael O'Neill adding a second on nine minutes. Both were converted by Magrath.
Hooker Bradley Roberts helped himself to two tries on 15 and 22 minutes, both again converted but there was never any danger of Rainey not securing their bonus win.
The Judges Road side included Derry GAA player Mark Craig on the wing but the Dungiven man had little chance to show his attacking prowess on the rugby field and spent most of the afternoon, like his team mates, in damage limitation mode.
The one bright spark, as he has been all season, was New Zealander Tyler Rogers Holden. The Kiwi is returning home on Sunday and it is a real pity his time at Derry has coincided with the predicament the club currently finds itself, limiting his undoubted potential.
However, with the rumour mill suggesting Ballynahinch are investigating the possibility of bring him back to Ulster, perhaps the AIL has not see the last of a hugely talented player.
With the bonus point wrapped up, Rainey went after a boost to the 'points for' column with Kieran Donaghy and McMurray adding tries five and six to leave the interval score 42-0 in favour of the home side.
The second half followed a similar pattern but for the odd break from Rogers-Holden.
Michael McCusker get Rainey up and running again with a try on 47minutes, McMurray then helped himself to another brace of scores, the second notable for being the first time all afternoon the impressive Magrath missed a kick but at 61-0 it was never going to matter much.
the home side were ringing the changes but it didn't mean an end to their scoring, substitutes Aidan McSwiggan and Scott McLean getting among the points in what will likely prove Rainey's most comfortable fixture of the season.
The Magherafelt men now trail Crescent by seven points but with a game in hand and the prospect of a final day meeting. That should prove some game.
Derry's fate will likely be sealed long before then but relegation may just give the club a chance to regroup to come again.
Rainey Old Boys: Tommy O'Hagan, Bradley Roberts, Kieran Donaghy, John McCusker, Tim Barker, Michael McCusker, Paul Pritchard, Jody McMurray, Michael WIlson, Andrew Magrath, Nicholas Stirling, Amdrew Donaghy, Damien McMurray, Robert Lamberton, Michael O'Neill.
(Replacements) Fintan Quinn, Aidan McSwuggan, Ronan McCusker, Scott McLean, Simon Crooks.
City of Derry: Ross Harkin, David Ferguson, Ryan King McGee,Gerard Doherty, Adam Bratton, Stephen Corr, Aaron Deery, Craig Huey, Tiernan Thornton, Tyler Rogers Holden, Callum O'Hagan, David Graham, Thomas Cole, Mark Craig, Jack Beattie.
(Replacements) Darragh Mullan, Rodney Hill, Jack Townley, Jake McDevitt, Shane Beattie.