Gorey grab away points
After the Christmas recess, Gorey resumed their Leinster League Division 1A campaign with an away trip to Dundalk.
Gorey 24 Dundalk 17
The hosts were having a good run of late and are just above Gorey in the table. In ideal conditions for rugby, the visitors were first out of the blocks, and within minutes registered the opening score with a James Nolan penalty.
Gorey continued to shade the early exchanges as Dundalk seemed to suffer from the long lay-off.
Slowly the home team worked their way into the game and good work from the pack saw them move the ball with pace.
But Gorey were coming up fast, and the ever-alert Stephen Duke turned a Dundalk attack into an opening try when he intercepted a move to score under the posts, with James Nolan converting.
The Gorey pack were not found wanting either, as Mark Whelan and co. snuffed out a number of Dundalk attacks, but the home team did manage to open their scoring with a penalty.
Dundalk were growing in confidence but within minutes that man Duke was to cause consternation again when he intercepted for the second time to again go in under the posts, and James Nolan converted.
17-3 was hardly a fair reflection on the proceedings but such is sport. Dundalk did manage to end the half well and persistent pressure saw them finally cross for a try which they converted to reduce the lead to 17-10.
The second-half saw the visitors growing in confidence as their pack began to edge the proceedings, with Alex Bond and Darragh O'Leary in particular making big carries, but discipline and accuracy was to cost them at crucial times when the line looked to be in sight.
They spurned a number of chances but persistence finally paid off when Stephen Horan worked his way over for their third try, and James Nolan converted.
Gorey continued to pile on the pressure and a tremendous Gary Rynhart break saw him just stopped short of the line as they went in search of the bonus point.
With two minutes left Dundalk worked their way into the visitors' half, after a number of unnecessary penalties by Gorey conceded territory that was hard won.
They finally got over under the posts after good ball retention which earned them a valuable bonus point.
Gorey had some outstanding performances in the backs with Stephen Duke, Gary Rynhart and Stephen Horan the pick of them. The whole pack performed to a man with Darragh O'Leary and man of the match Mark Whelan in outstanding form.
Next Saturday sees Gorey host Kilkenny in a crucial league fixture for both clubs. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. in Clonattin.
Gorey: R. Deering, B. O'Connor, D. Bellanova, D. O'Leary, A. Bond, M. Whelan, E. Walsh, J.P. Redmond, S. Horan, S. Duke, A. Walsh, J. Nolan, G. Rynhart, N. Copeland, D. Shannon, W. Rothwell, S. Triggs, S. Hadden, H. Gaiser, P. De Barra.
The Gorey J2s were also in Dundalk on Saturday and, like the first team, were looking for a win to keep them in the top half of the league.
They got off to a flyer with good intensity and were soon on the scoreboard with a Conor Butler penalty. They continued their good start and another Butler penalty attempt was just wide.
A line-out deep in Dundalk territory should have yielded another score but the home team defended well.
A yellow card for a Dundalk player, when Conor Butler was clear through but obstructed, should have signalled a Gorey onslaught but the home team upped their game and should have equalised on 20 minutes.
On the 30th minute they did just that when Conor Conroy levelled with a penalty.
The last ten minutes saw Gorey put some phases together through the pack, and good handling saw Seán Carty run over for a fine try. Conor Butler was just wide with the conversion attempt.
Half-time saw Dundalk's Conor Conroy reduce Gorey's lead immediately with a penalty. Gorey again started to string the moves together and could have, and should have, scored on a number of occasions but the final phase was poorly executed.
Inexperience was to cost Gorey in the end as Dundalk, who had barely been in the opposition '22 during the second-half, somehow conjured a try with ten minutes left on the clock to take the lead (11-8).
Gorey had chances to come back but the Dundalk defence handled the threat well to hold out for the win which looked very unlikely for most of the game.
Conor Butler, Josh Thomas and Garret Bater were the pick of the backs, with Eoin O Scannail, Stephen Triggs and Heino Gaiser leading from the front. Next up for Gorey is Kilkenny next Saturday with kick-off at 1 p.m.
Gorey: T. Tomkins, E. O Scannail, W. Rothwell, Z. Sinnott, A. Masterson, S. Triggs, J. Butterworth, H. Gaiser, G. Bater, C. Butler, S. Kennedy, S. Byrne, J. Thomas, S. Carty, L. Willoughby, N. Rothwell, B. Horan, D. O'Neill, M. Bolger.