Gorey claim a big scalp
Gorey 20 D.L.S.P. 10
After an away win against bottom of the table Monkstown the previous weekend, Gorey turned their attention to the top of the table when they welcomed De La Salle Palmerston to Clonattin on Saturday.
A concerned Gorey team took to the field with an ever-increasing list of casualties, and the withdrawal of two of their back row prior to the kick off did not help matters. But on a difficult day for rugby, this Gorey team turned up and delivered a famous victory on a scoreline of 20-10.
Gorey opted to play into the wind, and started the brighter with a Stephen Duke penalty the reward for some excellent ball carrying from the forwards. It took De La Salle a while to get their patterns together but eventually they did and scored a well-worked try after consistent pressure on the Gorey line.
It was not long until they registered try number two when a line-out deep in the Gorey '22 saw them maul over in the corner. With the half slipping by, Gorey could have settled for 10-3 as Salmo were growing in confidence and the gale-force wind was picking up.
But with minutes left on the clock and Gorey literally having weathered the storm, they again worked their way into the visitors' '22.
The pack kept the ball tight as they kept pounding the Salmo defence, and eventually Phil Horan crashed over for a significant try. Stephen Duke converted to draw the teams level (10-10) as the referee sounded the half-time whistle.
The second-half saw Gorey turn with the now gale-force wind at their backs, and they immediately pinned De La Salle back deep in their '22.
As Gorey had defended in the first-half, so too did De La Salle in the second. Stephen Gardiner and Daragh O'Leary were now making some hard yards for Gorey who were just about edging the exchanges.
In the 55th minute Gorey were awarded a penalty after an infringement at a ruck. In atrocious conditions, Stephen Duke put Gorey in front 13-10.
This was the pattern of play for the remainder of the game as Gorey kept Salmo deep in their half, forcing them to carry as kicking was not an option. The next score was vital for both teams and it eventually went to the home team.
A big clearance from David Shannon saw Gorey again deep in Salmo territory, and this time the stout defence was breached. In the conditions, Gorey had no option but to keep the ball tight, and in the 65th minute they finally touched down when Killian Breen stepped two defenders just right of the posts for Stephen Duke to convert and leave the score at 20-10, leaving Salmo in need of two scores for a victory.
De La Salle never gave up and kept attacking at every opportunity, but a resolute Gorey, ably assisted by the elements, brought their unbeaten run to an end.
This was a crucial victory for Gorey who to a man were worthy winners. Stephen Duke, Tommy New and Stephen Horan were the pick of the backs, with Phil Horan, Stephen Gardiner, Killian Breen and man of the match Ben Horan the best of the forwards.
Gorey travel to Instonians in Belfast next Saturday for the first round of the All-Ireland Cup.
Gorey: D. Gregan, P. Horan, J. Mulligan, T. Jameson, S. Gardiner, F. Bolger, K. Breen, D. O'Leary, C. Butler, M. Swart, G. Bater, S. Duke, A. Walshe, T. New, D. Shanahan, T. Jameson, W. Rothwell, B. Horan, P. O'Connor, B. O'Connor.