Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gorey show strength


Gorey 48, Wicklow 20: Gorey Under-19s demonstrated their substantial strength in depth in winning the South-East Shield at Clonattin on Saturday. Starting many of their fringe players, including ten who will be under-age next year, they dominated this fixture, producing attack of the highest quality at times. In doing so, they extended their undefeated home record on the main Clonattin pitch to two full seasons.

The teams exchanged penalties in the opening salvos with both kickers mastering the stiff cross wind. The Gorey scrum was struggling for probably the first time all season and the new line-out personnel were less than dominant, keeping Wicklow in the game.

But it was clear that Gorey held the advantage at the breakdown where Deasún Griffin and Josh White were a nuisance, with Jack Cleary relishing the close contact at outside centre. From one such ruck turnover, Stephen Duke orchestrated one of his many first-half first channel breaks. Two top drawer off-loads in quick succession close in saw the ball transferred to Josh White and then Jack Cleary who crashed over under the posts.

A Rory O'Toole corner flag tackle saved Gorey's try line shortly after before a D1 defensive error allowed the smart Wicklow 10 to progress after a ruck to score an equalising try in the second quarter. But Gorey's response was swift and lethal.

Yet another turnover allowed yet another Stephen Duke line break. Josh White was again on hand in support and executed a perfect two on one to put a delighted Eoin Walsh over under the posts. James Nolan kicked the conversion and a further penalty to give Gorey a 20-10 cushion at the interval.

Gorey now strengthened their team to ensure the entire squad had game time. Their dominance increased. Their breakdown recycling was top class and attacking lines of running both from deep and close in produced four converted tries.

James Mulligan from close in after spadework by Donnachada Carroll, James Nolan with a line-break from deep, Stephen Gardiner off a ruck close in, and the inevitable Josh White blind side scrum break after combining with Robert Harrington at 9.

Gorey video analysis will not be kind for Wicklow's second-half try. But overall they will be satisfied with their work at the breakdown and the efficiency of their attack. Gorey captain for the day, James Nolan, and team captain Fergal Bolger casually lifted the Boden Shield after the game.

But this team's thoughts had already turned to the Leinster (Darcy) Cup final at Donnybrook on Saturday next - a very different game in prospect, for a far bigger prize.

Gorey: Rory O'Toole, David Eirkem, James Nolan (capt.), Jack Cleary, Paddy Chapman, Stephen Duke, Brian Brooks, Seán Mahon, Eoin Walsh, Callum O'Donoghue, David Condren, Peter Spencer, Deasún Griffin, Conor Savage, Josh White. Subs. - Stephen Gardiner, Donnachada Carroll, Robert Harrington, J.J. Earle, James Mulligan, Fergal Bolger, Seán Byrne, Adam Thompson, Stephen Doyle.

It was a wild night of intermittent rain combined with very windy and blustery conditions that welcomed Enniscorthy to Clonattin for the semi-final of the Leinster Under-15 league. The game was played under floodlights on Wednesday last.

The first few Gorey probing attacks were defended with great intensity and much credit must go to their kicker, Adam Daly, who showed remarkable accuracy under severe pressure. But as the game progressed, cracks began to appear in a defence that had been well prepared by Enniscorthy managers Paddy Farrell and John Redmond.

Finally on the 14th minute, Niall Sinnott exploded from the trenches, breached the line and touched down under the posts for the first time this year. He made life easy for kicker Cian Hadden who converted to bring his club tally to over one hundred points this season. The roar of Gorey's partisan crowd was deafening.

The onfield leader, Mark Hoare, followed this on the 19th minute with a 40-metre tackle-busting charge up the left flank for a fine individual try and, as the clock ran down, second row forward, Conor Mangan, dazzled with a fantastic sidestep and went over to close out the first-half with Gorey leading 19-0.

Having found the range and adjusted for wind, Gorey set their collective sights on an emphatic victory in front of their home crowd and within ten minutes of the start of the second-half, Jack Willoughby and Barry Doyle scored tries in quick succession.

Indeed, the power and leg strength of Doyle resulted in many of the Gorey turnovers. Line-outs were a problem all night for both hookers who had to work hard to earn their corn, as time and time again, penalties were given away for the ball not being put in straight. In a replica move from the first-half, Mark Hoare again covered 40 metres to score on the 13th minute. It didn't all go Gorey's way but lady luck was certainly on their side.

Luke Willoughby came within touching distance of the line himself, and the huge tackle that put paid to him saw the ball fall nicely for Oscar Falconer, again running selflessly in support, who slid in under the uprights.

From the back of one scrum on the Gorey '22, Hadden delivered a clearance kick which was chased down by sprint specialist Lucas Stafford who put the Enniscorthy full-back under enormous pressure. As a result of some fantastic support running, Oscar Falconer found himself as the proverbial right man in the right place, snatched up the loose ball and pumped the legs to drive himself and two stalwart defenders over the line to add a second try to his tally.

Such was the power of the wind that most of the conversions were drop-kicked as the ball was blown off the kicking tee. As the Gorey management, Brian Willoughby and James Tomkins, sensed a win, they emptied the bench. The great form shown by the fresh legs continued the misery for Enniscorthy, who brought on replacements too in a desperate attempt to stem the flow but the wounds inflicted by Gorey were deep.

As the second-half progressed, Hoare, Hurley, Hilliard and Hadden combined beautifully with great hands. Replacement Jamie Doyle was the last man in this unusual line-up and got over near the corner flag. His effort was converted by full-back Jack Willoughby who, always in the thick of the action, shortly afterwards added a well-deserved second try to his collection.

Following a massive tackle from a fired up combination of James Hilliard, and Michael Wafer, Enniscorthy suffered a major setback on the 26th minute as their big number 6, David Doyle, who had given his all , was assisted from the field.

Dale Rothwell, who came on for David Bailey in the closing minutes, put in some surging diagonal runs, one of which made headway and on the 29th minute, he too clocked up a try to make it 61-0.

Squad: Jack Cushe, Reece Hughes, Barry Doyle (try), Conor Mangan (try), David Bailey, Niall Sinnott (try), Chris Bolger, Mark Hoare (capt., two tries), Seamus Tomkins, Cian Hadden (two conversions), Lucas Stafford, Oscar Falconer (two tries), Will Hurley, Daniel Sawyer, Jack Willoughby (two tries, one conversion). Replacements - Conor Fitzpatrick for Doyle, Patrick Sinnott for Cushe, Ben D'Arcy for Hughes, Luke Willoughby for Hurley, Jamie Doyle (try) for Sawyer, Garry Walshe for Stafford, Cian Fortune for Falconer, Dale Rothwell (try) for Bailey, James Hilliard for Hoare, Michael Wafer for Bolger, Robbie Brooks for Sinnott. Injured: Ciarán Murphy.

Gorey Under-10s had two teams playing in the Kettle Cup festival in Enniscorthy on Saturday last. Conditions were perfect for rugby with clubs from all over Leinster taking part.

The lads played six games in total - against Tullamore (twice), Tullow, Navan, New Ross and Enniscorthy - winning five with a narrow, undeserved defeat to Tullow.

All players did really well with some ferocious tackling, powerful rucking, great line breaks and some brilliant handling. Fine displays in particular came from Rian Fitzpatrick, Ewan Stephens, Lee and Brian Cushe, Rory Tubritt, Max McCabe, Enda McCrea, Ross O'Loughlin and, on his first day out with us, Jack Redmond.

We had great support so thanks to all who made the trip. Well done also to Larry Mackey and all in Enniscorthy R.F.C.

Gorey Guardian

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