Following on from their crucial away win in Dundalk last weekend Gorey continued their winning ways with another vital win at home to second-placed Suttonians.
A score of 20 – 8 to the Wexford men kept their hopes alive of qualifying for next seasons All Ireland Cup and eases their relegation worries with two games left, away to Wicklow and a home game on the final day of the league against already league winners Ashbourne.
On a beautiful day for rugby the game kicked off and it was the visitors who within a minute were to get off the mark when Gorey were penalised for crossing, Conor Jennings stepped up and slotted the penalty.
Gorey settled and some big carries from Willie Earl and Jordan Ahern helped Gorey 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 realign and showed great character in ensuring that their line remained intact during that period.
A long-range Dave 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 lineout 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 it was the visitors who shaded the first half.
The second half saw Gorey start the better with Gorey’s 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. Dave Shannon added the conversion.
It was nip and tuck for the next 10 mins as the visitors managed to get a foothold in the Gorey 22. In the 55th minute that pressure was to pay 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 10 minutes but could not break down a resolute Gorey defence.
The final 10 minutes saw the game finally balance at 10 – 8, Gorey finally were edging the exchanges and putting pressure on the visitors with some massive carries by the entire team.
A Dave 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 breakdown saw the ball go loose and the ever-alert Stanley Hadden gathered to race in for a crucial try. Shannon added the conversion.
Suttonians restarted 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 Dave 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 9th.
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