Gorey remain second in top flight after hard-earned home victory
Ashbourne provided the opposition for Gorey on Saturday and arrived in Clonattin with the intent of reversing the loss to the home side in the opening game of the Division 1A league season.
Gorey 10 Ashbourne 6
They nearly pulled it off but for an heroic performance from the locals in the second-half which gave Gorey all four points to maintain their second place position.
If ever a game could be described as one of two halves, this was it, but the script did not go as one might expect, as hurricane Dessie roared from the clubhouse end to cause both teams problems when playing with it.
Gorey were first to have the pleasure and from the first line-out, which nearly hit the opposition's scrum-half, any coherent play was going to prove difficult. Gorey did manage to dominate the territory but a resolute and hungrier Ashbourne were proving very difficult to break down.
Ashbourne weathered the early Gorey storm and put a string of good phases together to arrive at the Gorey line. They looked like they could sneak a try but were penalised for an infringement, and Gorey relieved the pressure.
The big Ashbourne pack was also edging the scrums as poor Gorey handling was proving costly. Close to half-time Gorey did manage to get on the scoreboard when Ashbourne were penalised for Stephen Duke to convert.
Ashbourne turned with the wind at their backs and from the kick-off looked to pin Gorey back in their '22. But it was clear this was a different Gorey team as William Earle and Stephen Gardiner were to the fore as the home side picked and drove at Ashbourne to make serious hard yards.
The rest of the troops were not found wanting either, but as so often happens a knock on or turnover saw Ashbourne use the wind for Gorey to start all over again.
A penalty for Ashbourne saw them draw level, but Gorey seemed to be working the harder as time after time they put good phases together. With 15 minutes left on the clock though, Ashbourne took the lead with a penalty.
This appeared to spur Gorey into another gear as they piled the pressure on the visitors. Matt Bater was instrumental as he coaxed huge efforts from his forwards and on 39 minutes they were finally rewarded.
After almost 30 phases of play, Gorey finally arrived on the Ashbourne line for captain J.P. Redmond to crash over, with Stephen Duke converting to leave the score at 10-6.
It was no more than Gorey deserved as over the 80 minutes they dominated the territory and possession in what was a hard-earned win over a very well-organised, determined and experienced Ashbourne.
This was a tremendous team effort by Gorey but they can thank their pack to a man for this result. Matt Bater and Stephen Duke kept the backs ticking over as it was not a day for running rugby.
Gorey are away to De La Salle next Saturday with kick-off at 2.30 p.m.
Team: R. Deering, F. Bolger, D. Bellanova, S. Gardiner, J.P. Redmond, W. Earle, M. Woods, J.P. Ahern, S. Horan, S. Duke, J. Condren, M. Bater, S. Byrne, S. O'Leary, G. Bater, D. Gregan, E. Walshe, A. Copeland, A. Walshe.