Saturday 20 July 2019

Gorey youths off to bright start in SE rugby league

Gorey 19 Carlow 5

Saturday morning saw beautiful conditions welcome Gorey's Under-18.5s and their visitors Carlow to Clonattin for their opening game in the South East League.

Gorey came out of the blocks at speed and started the game very strongly against a physically big Carlow squad.

But it didn't take long for this talented Carlow side to find their stride and they soon had Gorey defending in their own half for most of the first quarter.

Carlow's hard work eventually paid off with a penalty within kicking distance of the Gorey posts, but the weather conditions had deteriorated with a steady spray of rain and a little wind that had kicked up. The kick fell just short of its target.

Gorey's prop, Jack Ryan, made some good line breaks, but Carlow's defence held out.

Gorey's kicks for touch were proving difficult to make, but when they did their second row Tadhg O'Neill stole ball every time and gave them a good platform to build on.

Both sides tackled ferociously, with Gorey's Frank Kavanagh in particular making some big hits to stop attack after attack from the big Carlow pack. And scrum-half Cillian Tomkins took down opponents twice his size.

However, Carlow were first to break the deadlock after 28 minutes when they kicked though a clever grubber that bobbled over the Gorey tryline, pursued frantically by Carlow's centre and Gorey's Greg Bolger trying to defend.

Although the ball wasn't clearly grounded, the referee judged that the attacker had been interfered with prior to making contact with it and Carlow were deservedly awarded the try.

Once again, the wind played havoc with the attempted conversion, which sailed just wide of the posts.

A mere five minutes later Gorey found themselves with line-out just outside the Carlow 22-metre line and they gathered well and marched a well-controlled maul all the way over the tryline for Cormac Walsh to score. A super kick by Mikey Duke to convert gave Gorey the lead on the stroke of half-time (7-5).

Gorey once again started the second-half the strongest. And with just three minutes gone Gorey found themselves camped on the Carlow tryline.

Carlow repelled attack after attack as Gorey spread the ball from side to side, but quick thinking by Ryan Gibney saw him pop over the top of a ruck for a well-earned try.

A few moves by coaches Tommy Martin and Ben Mason saw Gorey's front row strengthened, with Dylan Sawyer playing out of his skin both in the set-piece and in the loose.

It was from one of these early scrums, just ten minutes into the second-half, that the ball was kicked long into the Carlow half, but as their full-back tried to gather the ball he knocked it on for yet another scrum.

Once again, Gorey dominated the scrum and the ball was fed out to centre Mark Kehoe who ran a great line before releasing the oncoming Flynn Donnelly. His lightning speed not only carried him over the line but right under the posts to ensure the conversion (19-5).

To their credit Carlow never gave up and they fought hard to try to get back into the game, but Gorey's defence was resolute and every last man tackled like their lives depended on it.

The game finished Gorey 19, Carlow 5. Gorey welcome old rivals Wicklow to Clonattin next Sunday, which promises to be a great game.

Gorey Guardian