Glory for Gorey!
Gorey Community School pulled off a remarkable comeback to edge out Dundalk Grammar School and take the Father Godfrey Cup at Donnybrook on Wednesday.
Gorey C.S. 17 Dundalk G.S. 12
The north Wexford school trailed 12-7 heading into the final quarter having withstood a sustained Dundalk onslaught,t but they slowly changed the momentum through the boot of Mark Boyle and eventually took a memorable victory.
The Juniors of Gorey had a clear gameplan, revolving around the considerable talents of Boyle, and executed it to perfection. On top of their talisman changing field position, the victors had several impressive runners in possession with Jack Ryan a powerful stand-out. Yet it was how Gorey defended that really frustrated their opponents. Eventually, as wave after wave of Dundalk attack was repelled, the Louth school ran out of ideas and energy, allowing the Slaneysiders to take control.
The first quarter was a scrappy, nervy affair that was almost lit up by Dundalk when they moved the ball through the hands of their backs from right to left. David Murdock kicked ahead into space but with Gorey under pressure the ball just ran over the dead-ball line.
A stunning Boyle kick set Gorey up with a scrum on the five after Flynn Kiernan booted back out of play in the in-goal area. Jack Ryan peeled off the scrum with menace but Dundalk withstood the pressure and cleared.
Gorey turned a defensive position into the opening try in the 21st minute. Martin O'Loughlin did fantastically well to keep the ball alive and stay on his feet when surrounded without aid. In the next phase, as Dundalk scrambled to reset, Boyle burst through the centre and, from his own half, hared clear to score under the posts.
Mark Kehoe added the extras to put Gorey 7-0 up but the try seemed to ignite something inside the Wee county lads, as they responded with incessant pressure before the interval and managed to go over twice.
After Gorey did brilliantly to keep Dundalk from scoring on two occasions, the excellent Andrew Cox finally touched down in the corner, and Darragh McCoy missed the extras. Then, with the last play of the half, Gerald Boylan added the second try, and McCoy didn't miss a second time so Dundalk led 12-7 at the change-around.
The break helped Gorey to re-group but it didn't alter the pattern of the game. Incredible defence kept them in it as Dundalk pressed to extend their lead. Eventually, a stunning Boyle kick changed field position midway through the period and they never looked back.
Gorey didn't get Flynn Donnelly the ball as often as they would have liked but he served warning of his capabilities when making a half-break from Nacho Farina's feed.
Just moments later, Seán Wafer and Farina again combined when the ball was spread to the left, and this time there was no stopping Donnelly as he flew away by the left touchline to score in the corner.
Another Boyle kick saw Cian Kenny put Darragh McCoy under pressure and helped Gorey to win a penalty ten yards from the line. While Dundalk stood around, half expecting the kick attempt to put the Wexford school ahead, Boyle took the quick penalty and went over in the right corner.
For what seemed like an age, referee Barry Armstrong and his touch-judge, Tony Grehan, discussed the grounding, as neither was in a great position to see how clean it was, but they eventually awarded the try to give Gorey a 17-12 lead.
In truth the champions never came close to giving up the score that would have taken victory away.
Boyle kept Dundalk pinned back with his array of stunning kicks, allowing his side to take victory when Cormac Wolohan-Walsh kicked to touch seconds after the clock ticked to 60.
Gorey C.S.: Cian Kenny, Alvaro Onieva, Oran Fitzpatrick, Mark Boyle, Flynn Donnelly, Mark Kehoe, Cormac Wolohan-Walsh, Cian Sullivan, Thomas Doyle, Pablo Onieva, Martin O'Loughlin, Nacho Farina, Adam Simpson, Seán Wafer (capt.), Jack Ryan. Replacements - Ryan Gibney for Sullivan (34), Darragh Kavanagh for A. Onieva, inj. (41), also Donough McGivern, Carl Johnston, Alex Murphy, Seán Newens, Cathal Stokes, Michael Kennedy. Squad - Matthew O Bríen, Andrew Cushe, Tom Hobbs, Greg Bolger, Louis Schwartz.
Dundalk G.S.: Flynn Kiernan, Dillon Dunne, David Murdock, Max McGloin, Thomas Clarke, Jack Connolly (capt.), Gerald Boylan, Tobi Akinseloyin, Zac Coan, Peter Curley, Luke McSherry, Jake Moran, Daniel Molloy, Andrew Cox, Darragh McCoy. Subs. - David Nwambu for Kiernan, inj. (18), T.A. Irwin for Molloy (45), Jonathan Johnston for Cox, inj. (52), Cox for McSherry (54), L. McSherry for Cox, inj. (56).
Referee: Barry Armstrong.