Draw leaves Gorey second
Ashbourne 12 Gorey 12
Round nine of the Leinster League Division 1A saw Gorey travel to Ashbourne on Saturday.
A pulsating game that had everything including two yellow cards for the visitors saw them reduced to 13 in the space of two minutes. Gorey can be both disappointed and relieved to have come away with a share of the points.
Gorey started the brighter and could have scored with two minutes on the clock if a pass had stuck.
But it was not long until they did score when Michael Duke crossed for what look like a perfect try, only for the linesman to overule the referee, who had awarded the try, for a foot in touch.
Gorey kept up the pressure and dominated proceedings but could not unlock the Ashbourne defence.
Ashbourne eventually lifted the siege and worked their way into the Gorey '22 for the first time. After some good phases they were awarded a penalty, and from the line-out they mauled over to eventually score (5-0).
Gorey were not long in replying and were finally rewarded when Stephen Duke split the Ashbourne defence with a beautiful break to run in under the posts. James Nolan converted to put Gorey in front.
Gorey continued to press and should have extended their lead on at least two occasions. Indeed, they could have been out of sight at the break.
The second-half saw Gorey extend their lead early as Ashbourne struggled to suppress some strong running by Gardiner and his pack, and when Gorey moved the ball wide, Eddie Horan went over in the corner for a well-worked team try. Nolan was just wide with the conversion attempt, leaving it 12-5 to Gorey.
Ashbourne responded and really for the remainder of the half were in control. When Gorey were reduced to 13 men within the space of two minutes, the signs looked ominous.
The defence remained intact, with Ashbourne unable to find a way through for that period.
Ashbourne did get over but Gorey somehow held them up. Eventually the Ashbourne pressure paid off and they crossed for a try in the corner when phase after phase finally broke down the visitors' defence.
A superb conversion drew the teams level to set up a final nervous ten minutes for Gorey as Ashbourne went for the winner.
Gorey held out to come away with a share of the spoils which keeps them in second place heading into the new year.
James Nolan, Michael Duke and Stephen Horan were the pick of the backs, with Stephen Gardiner, Darragh O'Leary and man of the match Eddie Horan strong in the forwards.
Gorey: D. Bellanova, B. O'Connor, K. Browne, S. Gardiner (capt.), D. O'Leary, K. Breen, E. Horan, S. Hadden, S. Horan, S. Duke, J. Naughton, J. Nolan, J. Rothwell, A. Walsh, M. Duke, T. Jameson, C. Allen, G. Bater, B. Mason, L. Molloy, R. Harrington.