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Relegation worries eased as Gorey gain vital success

Rugby: Gorey 20 Suttonians 8

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David Shannon of Gorey on the move away from James McCourt (Suttonians)

David Shannon of Gorey on the move away from James McCourt (Suttonians)

David Shannon of Gorey on the move away from James McCourt (Suttonians)

Following on from their crucial away win in Dundalk, Gorey continued their winning ways with another vital Leinster League Division 1A success at home to second-placed Suttonians on Saturday.

A score of 20-8 to the Wexford men kept their hopes alive of qualifying for next season's All-Ireland Cup, and eased their relegation worries with two games left.

They will be away to Wicklow before a home game on the final day of the league against Ashbourne, who are already crowned league winners.

On a beautiful day for rugby, the visitors got off the mark within a minute when Gorey were penalised for crossing, and Conor Jennings stepped up and slotted the penalty.

Gorey settled and some big carries from Willie Earle and Jordan Ahern helped them get over the gain line. An infringement by a Suttonians player gave Fionn O'Loughlin a chance to draw level, but he sliced his effort.

Suttonians shaded the opening period but Gorey were getting off their line hard enough in defence and were quick to re-align. They showed great character in ensuring that their line remained intact during that period.

A long-range David Shannon penalty drew the sides level when Suttonians were penalised at the breakdown.

Both defences were on top as both teams moved the ball as often as they could.

Near the end of the half, Gorey did concede some penalties and had to defend a number of line-out mauls and a few scrums close to their line, but they kept their line intact.

Gorey did have a chance to score in the final minute, but overall the visitors shaded the first-half.

The second-half saw Gorey start the better, with the back row of Eoin Walsh, Killian Breen and Jordan Ahern making some hard yards to take them deep into Suttonians' '22.

Gorey kept the pressure up and, minutes later, a long pass from Fionn O'Loughlin saw Joe Naughton cross for a well-worked try. David Shannon added the conversion.

It was nip and tuck for the next ten minutes as the visitors managed to get a foothold in the Gorey '22.

In the 55th minute that pressure paid off when, after a number of phases, they scored a carbon copy of the Gorey try. Jennings was just wide with the conversion.

Suttonians had the better of the next ten minutes but could not break down a resolute Gorey defence.

The final ten minutes saw the game finely balanced at 10-8. Gorey were finally edging the exchanges and putting pressure on the visitors, with some massive carries by the entire team.

A David Shannon break saw him kick deep into the visitors' '22. Suttonians were forced to carry, with the Gorey chasers now arriving in numbers.

Pressure at the break down saw the ball go loose, and the ever-alert Stanley Hadden gathered to race in for a crucial try. Shannon added the conversion.

Suttonians re-started and Gorey now had their tails up, and wave after wave of pressure forced a penalty.

Shannon added the three points to put Gorey out of touch for a vital win on a score of 20-8.

In a tremendous team effort, David Shannon, Fionn O'Loughlin and Mark Kehoe were the pick of the backs, with the entire pack and man of the match Willie Earle guiding Gorey to victory.

The next league game for Gorey is an away trip to Wicklow on Sunday, February 9.

Gorey: W. Rothwell, C. Walsh, K. Browne, D. O'Leary (capt.), W. Earle, E. Walsh, K. Breen, J. Ahern, D. McGrath, F. O'Loughlin, F. Donnelly, M. Kehoe, J. Naughton, D. Shannon, S. Hadden, G. Bater, B. O'Connor, T. Jameson, B. Mason.

Wexford People