Gorey bow out of race for honours
Gorey's first Towns Cup quarter-final in many years saw them travel to A.I.L. club Naas on Sunday.
Naas 23 Gorey 14
The weather conditions were ideal as both teams took to the pitch, and the large crowd looked forward to game between two sides that really knew nothing about each other.
The home team started the brighter as they kept the ball alive and moved it with purpose. They made good ground as Gorey slipped off a few tackles and on three minutes crossed the line for the opening try.
The early score stunned Gorey as their defence since early December has been impeccable. Naas sensed this nervousness in the Gorey ranks and kept the pressure up, and a further penalty saw them stretch their lead to 10-0.
Gorey responded somewhat but, when they got into the Naas half, poor line-outs cost them dearly. Naas upped the tempo on every turnover and extended their lead when they again worked their way into the Gorey '22 and good inter-changes, with backs and forwards, saw them cross the line for try number two, with the conversion extending their lead to 17-0.
With minutes left in the half Gorey managed to get into the Naas '22 and were awarded a penalty which sailed by the posts. A further Naas penalty saw them go to half-time in total control as Gorey really had no answer to a strong outfit.
The second-half started the same as the first ended as Naas again piled on the pressure and a further penalty saw them stretch their lead.
This was not what Gorey needed and it really knocked them for the next ten minutes.
When Stephen Duke was sin-binned Gorey had to shuffle their team and introduced Phil De Barra. With 20 minutes left Gorey came to life.
As the forwards began to get some parity, De Barra started moving the backs at pace and suddenly they started to make some inroads into the home defence. When Gorey arrived at the Naas line a quick-thinking Stephen Horan finally got them on the scoresheet, and Stephen Duke converted.
Within minutes Gorey were again deep in home territory and starting to believe, and further pressure saw Matt Bater cross for try number two, with again Stephen Duke converting.
Naas responded and almost got over in the corner but for a foot which was well in touch. Gorey ran at every opportunity as they carried the ball, and a break out by Andrew Walsh from deep in their half saw a last-ditch tackle stop him as he raced for the line.
It ended 23-14 and Gorey can have no complaints as Naas deserved their victory.
On a day when nothing seemed to go right, Gorey had some good performances from Stephen Horan and Andrew Walsh in the backs, with Eddie Horan and Daragh Bellanova the pick of the forwards.
Despite the disappointment of this loss, Gorey will look back on their first season in 1A and really can be happy with their progress. The team is very young and will have the All-Ireland competition to look forward to next season.
Team: R. Deering, F. Bolger, D. Bellanova, W. Earle, J.P. Redmond, D. Carroll, J.P. Ahern, M. Woods, G. Bater, S. Duke, J. Condren, M. Bater, E. Walsh, A. Walsh, S. Horan, P. De Barra, S. Byrne, B. O'Connor, E. Horan, C. Allen.