Gorey travelled to Ashbourne on Saturday last to take on the league leaders and the All Ireland Cup holders in a crucial league game.
The two teams are also scheduled to meet again next Saturday, Nov 16th in Clonattin in the Quarter Final of the All Ireland Cup. So this match had added interest for both teams.
Cold and windy conditions faced both sides with the strong wind blowing straight down the pitch
Ashbourne opted to play with the wind behind them and put early pressure on the visitors. But the Gorey defence was proving hard to break down with Gorey conceding the odd penalty. Gorey also had their moments in the first half but like Ashbourne could not breakdown a resolute defence.
It was the penalties that were to make the difference in the end with Ashbourne’s Gavin Kennedy landing four to lead 12 – 3 at the break. Mark Kehoe kicking Gorey’s sole reply out of two attempts.
The second half saw Gorey’s turn with the wind and they upped their game. Strong carries by the pack made some good ground into Ashbourne territory. But Ashbourne like Gorey in the first half defended and carried the ball well into the wind. Gorey’s first try came after sustained pressure on the home line. Gorey kept pounding away and eventually moved the ball wide for Andrew Walsh to power over. Mark Kehoe was just wide with the conversion attempt, leaving the score at 12 – 8.
Ashbourne were reduced to 14 and Gorey moved the ball wide at every attempt.
Flynn Donnelly finally found a hole and as he raced forward he passed inside to Andrew Walsh who took it on for the line when a crucial try-saving tackle from No. 8 Simon Deevy prevented what looked like a certain try.
Gorey kept the pressure on but again Ashbourne cleared their line to work their way up the field. With minutes left on the clock and the score at 12 – 8 Ashbourne sealed the victory when after a number of phases they powered over for Kennedy to convert, to leave the score at 19 – 8.
Deep in added time, Gorey restarted and an immediate turnover gave the visitors a chance to salvage a bonus point. Again they kept carrying with Jordan Ahern and Killian Breen making some hard yards. A number of phases later Fionn O’Loughlin moved it wide for Flynn Donnelly to run in for a try to secure the bonus point at 19 – 13.
This young Gorey team will be disappointed with this result as they know a number of rash decisions and not being clinical when needed cost them dearly against the league leaders.
Flynn Donnelly, Fionn O’Loughlin and Mark Kehoe were the pick of the backs. Jordan Ahern, Liam Molloy and Ben Horan worked tirelessly in the forwards
Next Saturday the two teams will have to do it all again when Ashbourne, winners the last 3 years, will be in Clonattin for the Quarter Final of the All Ireland Cup. The holders will be strong favourites but this young Gorey team know if they can eliminate the mistakes they are well capable of causing an upset. Kick-off next Saturday is 2.30 in Clonattin.
W. Rothwell, L. Molloy, K. Browne, T. Jameson, S. Gardiner Capt, E. Walsh, B. Horan, J. Ahern, D. McGrath, M. Kehoe, F. Donnelly, H. Kennedy, F. O’Loughlin, J. Naughton, M. Duke, A. Davies
K. Breen, J. Mulligan, B. O’Connor, A. Walsh,