Cushe shows nerves of steel to seal Gorey fightback
Glory glory Gorey! Gorey's U-13s overcame Athy in a thrilling final in Donnybrook last week.
The two unbeaten Premier League teams were facing in this decider so a tough battle was always on the cards.
Athy tore in to Gorey from the start but a scrambling defence managed to keep them out but struggled to get out of their own 22.
As the half continued Gorey came more in to the game and soon came close to scoring themselves, but good Athy defence meant that the half ended scoreless.
Gorey hoped to bring their momentum from the end of the first half in to the start of the second but it was Athy who were to break the deadlock when they crossed for a try which was also converted.
Three minutes later Gorey were rocked again with Athy getting their second try with the conversion going wide, leaving it at 12-0. Lesser teams would have dropped their heads but the Gorey lads are made of strong stuff and refused to give in.
Suddenly the game was now being played in the Athy half as Gorey ramped up the pressure and started to play the game they are capable of. Finally it paid off when Michal Kruczek scored a try.
Now seven points adrift with only 12 minutes to go the lads were right back in it and the sizeable Gorey support got in behind them.
A Lee Cushe crossfield kick paid off with Ewan Stephens and Brian Cushe putting the Athy defence under huge pressure which resulted in Cushe getting over the line. The stand erupted but went quiet as Cushe stepped up for the conversion which he nailed for 12-12.
More Gorey pressure led to a concession of a penalty by Athy in the 21st minute, in front of the posts, though a fair distance out. Cushe stepped up to take the pressure kick and again it sailed between the posts bringing the score to 15-12.
Despite fierce pressure the Gorey lads soaked it all up and held on for the win.
The final whistle led to jubilation among the Gorey players, coaches and supporters which continued long after Ewan Stephens stepped up to receive the Leinster trophy
Commiserations to Athy on a great game but the Gorey coaches (Nigel Stephens, Brian Hadden and Rob Tubritt), their families and their club are justifiably very proud of their efforts.
The players and coaching staff are also very thankful to the massive and vocal Gorey following (some who were extremely well turned out for the occasion!) who travelled to Donnybrook and to our club president Dave O'Neill also.
Gorey - J Curley. D Fitzpatrick, E Byrne, R Tubritt, E McCrea, G Hadden, C Byrne, E Stephens, J Higgin, L Cushe, T Baxter, J Milne, M Kruczek, B Cushe, S O Hagan, A McNeill, S Sawyer, P Kinsella, A Cleary, R Cleary, C Byrne, S Murphy, Z Furlong, O McDwyer.