All-Ireland League - Division 2A Relegation Playoff Second Leg
Nenagh Ormond 26 (43)
Rainey Old Boys 13 (30)
Drama and apprehension were the very much a feature of a tense playoff decider last Saturday at New Ormond Park but Nenagh Ormond produced a clinical second half display to defeat northern rivals Rainey and secure Division 2A status for next season by three tries to one and a 26-13 scoreline.
Pushed all the way by a big, physical and determined Rainey outfit, Nenagh responded to the challenge by coming from behind twice to run out deserving winners – to the absolute relief of players, management and supporters.
With everything on the line, the local support turned out in numbers to urge on their team and the tension was palpable throughout the ground. A nervy start was always on the cards and sure enough the early stages of the game were punctuated by uncharacteristic errors on both sides. This perhaps suited the more direct style of Rainey and they went into the lead on 17 minutes through a Scott McLean penalty which they extended in the 34th minute when Derek Corcoran was pinged for lying over the ball in a ruck right in front of the posts.
With the confidence of the Derry men now rising, the home side very much needed to respond and with half time approaching they struck with their first real attack of the game – Peter Coman breaking clear to touch down in the left corner. Although Conor McMahon failed to add the extras, he held his nerve to slot a vital penalty 2 minutes later to give his side a slender half-time lead, somewhat against the run of play.
Immediately on the restart, a Rainey infringement gave Nenagh a chance to extend their lead and McMahon once again delivered with the boot from 35 metres out. Now it was Rainey’s time to respond and respond they did with full-back Mickey O’Neill showing a deft turn of foot to outpace the defence and touch down for converted try to regain the lead and stun the home support.
Nenagh’s response was immediate and decisive. First of all McMahon thumped over a superb penalty kick to nudge his side in front and shortly afterward Peter Coman broke clear looking sure to score before being felled by a last ditch Rainey tackle. Maintaining his composure, Coman linked superbly with the onrushing Evan Murphy who powered over the line for Nenagh’s second try. Again McMahon showed his mettle, connecting crisply to nail the conversion and make it a two score game.
Having been sin-binned earlier in the game, scrum-half Nicky Irwin atoned with an opportunist try late on to a chorus of jubilation from the home supporters. At the end of a long and arduous campaign, this game and with it division 2A status, was finally secure and Nenagh can now take a well-deserved break to look forward to the 2022/23 campaign with renewed optimism.
Scorers: Nenagh Ormond: Tries: Peter Coman, Evan Murphy, Nicky Irwin.
Cons: Conor McMahon
Pens: Conor McMahon (3)
Nenagh Ormond: Peter Coman, Davy Gleeson, Conor McMahon, Willie Coffey, Patrick Scully, Derek Corcoran, Nicky Irwin; Fergal Brislane, Conor Muldoon, Niall O'Gorman, Kevin O'Flaherty, John O'Flaherty, Rob Buckley, Evan Murphy, John Hayes.
Subs: Peter O'Connor, Johnny Hayes, Damien Dunne, Jake O'Kelly, Kevin O'Gorman, Cian Ryan, James Finn, Cian O'Kelly.