Gorey seal second spot
The final league game of the season took place on Saturday in Clonattin.
Gorey 10 Clondalkin 0
The visitors were Clondalkin who are at the other end of the league table, but are still involved in the Towns Cup and a play-off for survival in Division 1A, so they had lots to play for.
Having missed out on the bonus point the previous week, Gorey probably knew their chance of overtaking Enniscorthy at the top was gone as it was highly unlikely the league leaders would slip up on the last day.
Gorey had avoided any significant injuries all season but the loss of both centres, Matt Bater and Eoin Walsh, meant they had to re-jig their bac kline for this game.
Gorey started off at a blistering pace and phase after phase of good pressure saw Phil De Barra cross for the opening try for Steven Duke to convert.
The next ten minutes saw Gorey keep the pressure on but poor execution at crucial times saw a number of scoring chances slip by. When prop Darragh Bellanova was adjudged not to have scored what looked like a perfect try, Clondalkin seemed to energise and started to apply pressure.
But the Gorey defence of the last few months is not an easy nut to crack, even on a poor day, and its members do not like to give away tries.
The final minutes of the first-half saw Gorey defend their line to a man as Clon worked phase after phase in an effort to arrive at the Holy Grail, only for Gorey to get a turnover and relieve the pressure.
If the first-half was short of coherent rugby, the second-half had none. A dogfight developed as both defences were on top.
Time after time both sides spurned chances to establish any decent platform as mistakes crept into the game.
A Stephen Duke penalty to extend Gorey's lead to 10-0 was how it ended in a game that won't go down as one for the memory bank.
Despite this the usual quota of players stood out with Stephen Horan, Stephen Duke and Andrew Walsh the pick of the backs, while Darragh Belanova and man of the match Jordan Aherne were the pick of the forwards.
Gorey have no match next week, but the following week sees them travel to Naas for the quarter-final of the Towns Cup.
Team: C. Allen, F. Bolger, D. Bellanova, A. Copeland, W. Earle, J.P. Redmond, J.P. Aherne, M. Woods, G. Bater, P. De Barra, S. Duke, S. O'Leary, M. Bater, S. Byrne, A. Walsh, C. Power, P. De Barra, B. Horan, S. Byrne, D. Gregan, B. Horan, D. Carroll, B. O'Connor, S. Horan.