After their away win in Connemara in the All Ireland Cup the previous week, Gorey were back on league duty last Saturday when they entertained Wicklow in Clonattin.
Both clubs have had mixed results so far and a win was vital for both to get some momentum into their season.
Wicklow started well with good phases taking them into the Gorey 22 and after 5 minutes a Niall Earls penalty saw them opening the score.
The next ten minutes was an equal affair as both teams looked for openings. The greasy conditions, while evident were not causing too many problems as both teams handled well. A speculative kick from Mark Kehoe into the corner resulted in a knock-on but Flynn Donnelly took full advantage to gather and crash over for the opening try. Kehoe was just wide with the conversion attempt.
With the breeze behind them, Gorey were now putting some good phases together and camped in the Wicklow 22. But a stubborn defence was proving hard to break down. Wicklow weathered the storm and on the stroke of halftime, another Niall Earls penalty put them in the lead 6 – 5.
The second half saw Gorey put early pressure on the visitors and it wasn’t long until it started to pay dividends. Wicklow were still proving difficult but Gorey kept hammering their line with Jordan Ahern and Kevin Browne making the hard yards. It was Captain Steven Gardiner who made the final push to touch down under the posts. Mark Kehoe added the conversion.
The wind was now in the Gorey sails as they again forced Wicklow deep into their half. On 60 minutes Gardiner added try number three when another bout of sustained pressure saw him cross again, Mark Kehoe was on hand to add the conversion.
From the restart, Wicklow rallied and moved the ball with intent, but the Gorey defence was proving hard to breakdown. A yellow card for Gorey saw them reduced to 14. But it was Gorey who were to capitalise, as Wicklow had to throw caution to the wind and tried to move the ball wide. Fionn O’Loughlin intercepted with a timely run from inside his own half to go under the posts for the bonus point. Mark Kehoe converted.
Another yellow for Gorey saw them reduced to 14 again, but Wicklow were now camped on the home line with Gorey defending to the last. They finally crossed deep in injury time to add a try to leave the final score 26 – 11.
Gorey will be happy to take the spoils as they travel to League leaders Ashbourne next Saturday. The following weekend they meet Ashbourne again in Clonattin, this time in the All Ireland Cup which Ashbourne are the holders. Kick-off for both matches will be 2.30pm.
Mark Kehoe, Fionn O’Loughlin and Dave Shannon were the pick of the backs with the back row of Killian Breen, Ben Horan and Jordan Ahern working hard in the forwards, with man of the match going to Captain Steven Gardiner.
W. Rothwell, L. Molloy, K. Browne, T. Jameson, S. Gardiner Capt, D. O’Leary, K. Breen, J. Ahern, D. McGrath, M. Kehoe, F. Donnelly, C. Power, F. O’Loughlin, J. Naughton, D. Shannon, E. Walsh, B. Horan, A. Davies, H. Kennedy, J. Mulligan