Gorey set up home tie with Tullow
Gorey 29 Athy 7
Gorey travelled to Athy on Sunday for the second round of the Provincial Towns Cup.
Athy have been on a good run in Division 2B of late and had secured home advantage with an impressive away victory over Tullamore in round one.
Gorey knew they would have to be on top of their game and anything less could leave the door open for Athy.
The visitors set their stall out early as they moved the ball at pace, but Athy proved more than willing and able to defend Gorey's speedy backs.
It took until the 18th minute for Gorey to earn their first chance with a penalty, and in a difficult wind Duke was just wide.
From the re-start Athy attacked with purpose and, as they moved the ball through the backs, Dave Shannon saw a gap. He raced in to intercept and ran in to score under the posts, with Duke converting.
From the kick-off Athy played some of their best rugby as they put some good phases together. On the 29th minute they were finally rewarded when Dara Conway raced on to a kick through to touch down, and Mark Bever added the conversion.
For the next ten minutes Gorey upped the pressure and when Athy lost a player to a yellow, Gorey pushed home the advantage as their pack was now beginning to edge the set-pieces.
After a couple of scrums, number 8 Jordan Ahearne finally crashed over, and Duke added the conversion, so it was 14-7 at half-time.
The second-half started similar to the first with both teams defending well. But the Gorey front five were now beginning to dominate and, a number of penalties and phases later, Marty Swartz showed a turn of pace to run in for their third try. Duke was just wide with the conversion.
Within seven minutes Gorey were back again in the Athy '22 and, after another infringement, they came away with a Steven Horan penalty.
The score was 22-7 and Gorey were looking in control but Athy, as they had done all day, came right back. The strong wind and good defending by Gorey made it difficult for them to get any territory.
Gorey continued to keep up the pressure and on the 78th minute Jordan Ahearn crossed for their fourth try, with Steven Horan converting.
Gorey were now 29-7 in front as the game came to a close.
While not in top gear, Gorey negotiated a tricky tie and now advance to the quarter-final where they have a home draw against reigning champions Tullow on Sunday, March 18.
Gorey had some good performances in the backs from James Nolan, Paul O'Connor and Steven Horan. The pack was where this game was won, with a dominant set-piece giving Gorey a major advantage. Daragh Bellanova, Stephen Gardiner and Jordan Ahearne were prominent, with man of match going to Eddie Horan.
Gorey: D. Gregan, B. O'Connor, D. Bellanova, S. Gardiner (capt.), T. Jameson, E. Horan, K. Breen, J. Ahearne, S. Horan, M. Swart, A. Walsh, J. Nolan, P. O'Connor, D. Shannon, S. Duke, M. Whelan, C. Allen, G. Bater, R. Harrington E. Walsh, B. Horan, D. O'Leary.