Gorey back to winning ways
Leinster League Division 1A: Gorey 24 Dundalk 14
After the narrow loss to Enniscorthy the previous week, Gorey firsts returned to winning ways with a hard-fought Leinster League Division 1A win over Dundalk on Saturday.
Dundalk came out with all guns blazing as they set out their stall early, but sustained pressure in the Gorey '22 saw them leave scoreless.
After weathering the storm, Gorey began to edge the set-piece, with a couple of scrums producing penalties and taking them into the Dundalk '22.
A number of phases later, captain Stephen Gardiner powered over for the opening score and James Nolan converted.
Both teams huffed and puffed with neither really denting the other's defence. Half-time arrived with Gorey just about having shaded the exchanges.
Dundalk started the second as they did in the first. And this time they were not as wasteful in the Gorey '22 when the opportunity presented itself.
A number of excellent phases saw them finally get on the scoresheet when John Smith crossed for a well-worked try. Sam Weber added the conversion.
The game was now opening up as Gorey upped their effort, with some excellent work pinning the visitors in their '22.
This came about after Stephen Duke split the defence to release his backs, and when Stephen Horan was pulled down just before receiving the ball, Dundalk received their first of two yellows after consistent infringements. Shortly after they received their second.
It did not take long for Gorey to extend their lead when Stephen Horan touched down after steady pressure. James Nolan added the conversion.
Gorey tried to extend their lead but some excellent defending by Dundalk denied them on a number of occasions.
Gorey were moving the ball at every opportunity and it was from an attack that Dundalk grabbed a lifeline when Sam Weber intercepted to run in under the posts to draw the sides level.
From the re-start Gorey again applied pressure, and a further penalty saw James Nolan restore the lead.
The game was in the final quarter and Gorey kept the visitors deep in their half. Dundalk were now throwing caution to the wind as they tried to move the ball wide, and an ever-alert Joe Naughton went for the intercept to run in under the posts and kill off the contest.
James Nolan added the conversion to leave the final score at 24-14 to Gorey.
This was a close encounter throughout, with indiscipline costing Dundalk dearly. Gorey moved into outright second place after Enniscorthy accounted for Wicklow. Next up is an away trip to Ashbourne next Saturday, the final game before the Christmas break.
Gorey had some good performances in the pack, with Killian Breen, Ciarán Allen and captain Stephen Gardiner working well.
Michael Duke acquitted himself well at full-back in his first Senior game, with Stephen Horan and man of the match James Nolan the pick of the backs.
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. Walshe, M. Duke, T. Jameson, C. Allen, E. Badham, G. Bater, B. Mason.