Gorey on top in battle with Boyne
Gorey 27 Boyne 3
The Gorey J1s battled their way to a crucial 27-3 victory over Boyne in the Leinster League Division 1A at a chilly Clonattin on Saturday, with the home side limiting their Louth opponents to mere scraps in the final third.
The visitors actually enjoyed the brighter start, with territory largely consigned to Gorey's half of the field. That said, Boyne lacked the creativity to really trouble a home defence that tackled ravenously, and most importantly held its shape throughout.
A rare moment of Boyne invention almost saw Adam Brodigan released from Eoghan Duffy's box kick, while Stephen Gardiner halted the latter in his tracks when he broke through on twelve minutes.
Boyne's number eight and captain, Karl Keogh, rather unusually opened the scoring with a successful penalty on 15 minutes, but that was quickly cancelled out by a similar effort from the accurate Stephen Horan.
And Gorey surged into a lead they wouldn't surrender when a clever short line-out throw from Barry O'Connor picked out the excellent Killian Breen and he teed up Gardiner to crash over the whitewash on 21 minutes.
The gap was stretched to 14 points seven minutes later when James Nolan supplied Cork native David Shannon, and he sped in at the far corner before touching down more centrally to make Horan's conversion all the easier.
Boyne's frustration was exacerbated two minutes before the break when another incision from their dangerman Duffy looked certain to end in a try, but Kevin McCleary seemed to take his eye off the ball with touch at his mercy as the difference somehow remained at 17-3 at the interval.
Horan's second penalty arose after a sin-binning for Boyne, although Gorey soon had a man in the sin-bin themselves following a brief altercation.
But they were returned to their full complement of players by the time Paul O'Connor crashed over their third try from about two metres out on 68 minutes, with Horan maintaining his accuracy from the subsequent conversion.
And the locals defended as if their lives depended on it thereafter, repelling everything Boyne threw at them in a committed performance.
It was Gorey's fourth win from nine games in a rather average campaign to date, but they couldn't quite secure the bonus point for four tries that their overall performance probably deserved.
Gorey: Dylan Gregan, Barry O'Connor, Darragh Bellanova; Tom Jameson, Stephen Gardiner (vice-capt.); Fergal Bolger, Jordan Aherne, Killian Breen; Gareth Bater, Stephen Duke; David Shannon (capt.), James Nolan, Paul O'Connor, Rob Harrington, Stephen Horan. Subs. - Willie Rothwell for Gregan (69), David Walsh for B. O'Connor (74).
Boyne: Paul Shuttlesworth, Pádraig Mongey, Hugh Carolan; Conor Walsh, Deccie Moore, Rory Hennessy, Karl Keogh (capt.), Wilson Twentyman; Alex Cox, Tom Francis; Kevin McCleary, Alex Gregory, Adam Brodigan, Brian Howell, Eoghan Duffy. Subs. - George Cooney for Mongey (HT), Richard Shuttlesworth for Walsh (HT), Joe Sweeney for Howell (54), Jerry Onianwa for P. Shuttlesworth (65).
Referee: Colm Roche.