McMullen Cup glory
McMullen Cup: Gorey C.S. 37 Gormanston College 17
The McMullen Cup is back in Wexford for the third consecutive season after Gorey Community School proved too strong for Gormanston College in Lakelands, Terenure, on Thursday.
This was Gorey's second win in succession, after they edged out Dundalk Grammar School last season. Unlike on that occasion, this victory never looked to be in doubt as G.C.S. completely dominated.
Their strength was that they didn't have just one facet to their game, they did almost everything well. The played the power game when necessary but possessed line-breakers on the outside that gave Gormanston more than they could handle.
Yet, the plan probably wasn't to concede an early penalty that Josh McNamee converted from just outside the 22-metre line. Gorey are experienced winners at this stage, and they knew there was no need to panic and soon got into their stride.
The next 25-minute spell was almost exclusively played in the Gormanston half of the field, and Gorey hit the front in the eighth minute when Cian Kenny touched down after several phases of play in the shadow of the line.
With a 5-3 lead, Gorey kept turning the screw, and more patience paid off for them when Martin O'Loughlin drove over in the 15th minute.
Cathal Stokes missed the tricky conversion from the sideline but his side still had the momentum.
The power of the Gorey scrum saw them turn over possession in one and force a knock-on in the next. It was no surprise when Mark Boyle accepted a pass out of the tackle and raced away to touch down.
Almost from nowhere, Cormac Murphy replied and Josh McNamee kicked the extras right on half-time, and from being completely outplayed Gormanston were within five at the change of ends (15-10).
The maturity of this Gorey side showed immediately after the interval, as they went back on the front foot and Martin O'Loughlin drove over to the right of the posts on the fifth phase after a line-out. Mark Kehoe added the conversion to make it 22-10.
Gorey came close to wrapping up the win on several occasions in the next ten minutes, but they finally went three scores ahead in the 50th minute when Kehoe kicked a classy penalty from just outside the '22.
The most picture perfect score came 14 minutes from time when Stokes' kick over the top was caught and ran in by Seán Wafer. Kehoe tapped over the extras to increase the Gorey lead to 32-10.
Wafer continued his impressive performance with another breakaway score in the final five minutes, meaning a last-gasp converted touchdown by Cormac Murphy had no bearing on the outcome as the McMullen Cup went back to Gorey C.S.
Gorey Community School: Mark Kehoe (one penalty, two conversions), Flynn Donnelly, Brian O'Leary, Seán Wafer (two tries), Oran Fitzpatrick, Cathal Stokes, George Slattery; Martin O'Loughlin (two tries), Ryan Gibney, Jack Ryan, Owen Austin, Cian Kenny (one try), Joseph Butler, Cormac Walsh, Mark Boyle (capt., one try). Replacements - Cian Sullivan, Pat Doyle, Steven Doran, Nathan Byrne, Gonzalo Sanchez-Toscano, Eoin Canavan, Joseph Tallen, also Cian Molloy, Andrew Cushen, Joe Burke.
Gormanston College: Aitzol King, Jack Scannell, Keanu Van Beek, Luke Mitchell, Peter Coscoren, Josh McNamee (one penalty, two conversions), Todd Lynch; Brendan Landers, James Downes, Daniel O'Neill, Ferghal Twomey, Michael Ibrahim, Tariq Van Beek, Abdul Muheez Olaosebikan, Cormac Murphy (capt., two tries). Replacements - Noah Pederson, Daniel Guerini, Daniel Sutton, Ronan Weakliam, Kealan King, Gavin Flood, Mark Olagunola, Cian Casey.
Referee: Barry Armstrong (Leinster Branch).