Gorey dump Carlow
Gorey 18 Carlow 3
Gorey kicked off their Bank of Ireland Towns Cup campaign on Sunday with a hard-earned victory over Division 2A leaders Carlow in Clonattin.
Carlow have been unbeaten all season and Gorey knew that they would have to fire on all cylinders if they wanted to advance to round two.
On a pitch that was just about playable, Gorey drew first blood when after five minutes they were awarded a penalty and Stephen Duke was on target.
For the next 15 minutes Carlow started to put some good phases together.
They were awarded two penalties but their full-back Darren Browne was just wide with both. To be fair, the conditions were sticky and to get any sort of footing was difficult.
In the 38th minute Gorey crossed for their first try. A long kick from deep inside the Gorey half took them to the Carlow '22.
From the resulting line-out Gorey moved through the phases and soon arrived at the visitors' line.
A number of pick and go moves finally saw Paul O'Connor cross for a well-worked try, and Stephen Duke was just wide with the conversion attempt.
The half-time whistle sounded with Gorey just about value for their 8-0 lead.
Carlow came out in the second-half and, as they did in the first, put a number of phases together.
Within minutes they managed to raise the flag, with a Browne penalty reducing the deficit to five. This was now a real ding-dong cup match as both teams fancied their chances.
Gorey soaked up a number of Carlow attacks and in the 56th minute a turnover by Killian Breen saw the home side move the ball wide and at pace.
Dave Shannon came into the line and as he approached the '22 he dinked the ball behind the advancing Carlow defence for Fergal Bolger to latch on and cross for Gorey's second try. Stephen Duke added the conversion.
Back came Carlow with probably their best passage of play, with phase after phase trying to break down a stubborn Gorey defence.
Gorey weathered the storm and again pinned Carlow back in their '22 with a clever kick.
Andrew Walshe chased hard and from the resulting ruck Gorey were awarded a penalty for Stephen Duke to convert to leave the score at 18-3.
For the last ten minutes Carlow threw the kitchen sink at Gorey but, as they had all day, could not find a way through.
This was a typical Towns Cup match with both teams trying to play in difficult conditions.
Carlow will now concentrate on winning Division 2A and on this display won't be found wanting in 1B next season.
Gorey move on to round two where they will meet Tullamore or Athy which was postponed on Sunday due to the bad weather.
Gorey had some good performances from Stephen Duke, Stephen Horan and James Nolan in the backs, but the plaudits for this victory must go to the pack with Daragh Bellanova, Killian Breen and man of the match Jordan Ahearne outstanding on a difficult day for rugby.
Gorey J2 will be next up when on Sunday, February 4, they entertain Longford in the first round of the cup.
Gorey: R. Deering, F. Bolger, D. Bellanova, S. Gardiner (capt.), T. Jameson, E. Horan, K. Breen, J. Ahearne, G. Bater, M. Swart, A. Walshe, J. Nolan, P. O'Connor, R. Harrington, S. Duke, D. Gregan, B. Horan, E. Walsh, D. Shannon, D. O'Leary.