22 May 2022

Foundations must be in place for Rainey promotion

New Head Coach Ian McKinley looks ahead to new season

Foundations must be in place for Rainey promotion

New Rainey Old Boys' manager Ian McKinley. (Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Promotion to All-Ireland Division 1 will come as a long-term consequence of Rainey getting their own house in order, states new Head Coach Ian McKinley.

The Dublin native, who made his senior debut in UCD's victory over Rainey at Hatrick Park in 2008, takes over from John Andrews.

“I can see the difference from then to now (at Rainey) and the plans for the development,” said McKinley, who speaks of the club being an 'exciting' place.

“It is a hotspot for cross-community development,” he adds. “You have the 4G pitch, mixed with Gaelic football, soccer and hurling. It is great to see and that attracts me a lot.”

Getting people out playing rugby is the first priority after the 'horrendous' time during the Covid-19 lockdown. Also, developing the club in as positive a way as possible is another 'objective' of the new Head Coach.

If Rainey are to take the next step and secure promotion to Division 1B, it will come from 'doing the right things' and, as McKinley explains, it won't be a quick fix.

“You see all the time, particularly in the Premiership, teams come up and down all the time,” he said.

“There is no point in going up if your foundations aren't right. You can get up there, really struggle and come straight back down and be in a worse position.

“I will look to help build foundations for the club that will make it a good club going forward in years to come.

“You want to get promoted and compete at the highest level, so hopefully that'll be a consequence of all the correct things being done.”

In recent weeks, Rainey hooker Brad Roberts scored his first Ulster try against McKinley's former club Zebre in the PRO14 series.

Having the South African on board for the new season would be a major boost for Rainey, but McKinley said it is a case of 'see what happens'.

“It is great that he is getting exposure and playing in the places he is,” added Ian, who said it was a 'great advertisement' for the All-Ireland League.

“It should be looked at by us, as a gateway to the professional game. He (Brad) is a very talented player, very strong and a good runner...Ulster are lucky to have him. “He has to learn as much as he can in the time he is there.”

ALSO READ - Ian McKinley on his career. 

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