Thursday 18 July 2019

Under-18 success

Gorey 18 Ashbourne 10

Dylan Sawyer off-loading for Gorey in their win against Ashbourne on Sunday
Dylan Sawyer off-loading for Gorey in their win against Ashbourne on Sunday

Gorey continued their Leinster League Under-18 campaign after their win on the road in Navan the previous week by welcoming Ashbourne to Clonattin on Sunday.

A large crowd cheered both teams onto the pitch, as Ashbourne brought a good contingent of supporters.

Gorey didn't have an auspicious start as their kick-off went straight out, giving a scrum to the visitors, but the pack held solid and they put Ashbourne under pressure from the off.

Some good play led Gorey into the Ashbourne half and a better kick gave Gorey a line-out just outside the '22. Tadhg O'Neill gathered well and made for the line, but was denied within a couple of feet of the tryline.

The ball was recycled, but Ashbourne defended well and drove Gorey back. Eventually the ball came to Jack Ryan who handed off an Ashbourne defender and made good ground before being brought down.

The ball was recycled again, and this time carried by Dylan Sawyer who fed it to Henry Kennedy to burst over for the opening try. Mikey Duke converted to put Gorey 7-0 up after 14 minutes.

Ashbourne came back at Gorey and applied pressure, but indiscipline cost them after an earlier warning by the referee left him with no choice but to send their prop to the bin for blatant interference with the Gorey scrum-half at a ruck.

Gorey made the most of their one-man advantage and were rewarded with a penalty, which Duke sent over to put the score at 10-0.

Ashbourne continued to fight hard and they made several good line breaks, but determined tackling by the likes of Mark Kehoe and Liam Molloy prevented them from making too much ground.

The referee blew the whistle for half-time, but Ashbourne must have felt that the scoreline at 10-0 really didn't reflect their good efforts.

The second-half started with the wind at Gorey's back, but Ashbourne resumed the stronger, pinning Gorey back in their own '22 from the off.

Gorey were camped on their own tryline, repelling attack after attack from Ashbourne's strong forwards. Ryan Gibney prevented a certain try when he held up the ball.

But it was only a matter of time before Ashbourne pressure paid off and they got a well-deserved try with just seven minutes of the second-half played. Unfortunately for Ashbourne, the attempted conversion sailed just wide of the post, but they still narrowed the gap to just five points at 10-5.

This seemed to spark Gorey into life and just minutes later a long kick left Ashbourne with a line-out in their own '22 which was delivered crooked and left Gorey with a scrum.

Gorey's front row of Jack Ryan, Toby Falconer and Dylan Sawyer were now dominating these encounters, and the ball was fed quickly by scrum-half Cillian Tomkins to speedy winger Flynn Donnelly who beat several defenders to get through for Gorey's second try (15-5).

Gorey flanker Frank Kavanagh made crucial hit after hit to deny Ashbourne. But it was a number of missed tackles by Gorey in Ashbourne's own half that released their winger to run 70 metres for a super individual try and bring them back into the game with 15 minutes remaining (15-10).

But as with Ashbourne's first try, Gorey responded quickly and some great hands by centre Mikey Duke released Cormac Walsh and Ashbourne found themselves defending in their own '22 again.

Gorey's persistence was rewarded with a penalty with just minutes remaining, and Duke drove the ball hard to widen the gap to eight points (18-10).

Gorey Guardian