Wednesday 20 November 2019

Gorey strike at the death

Gorey 27 D.L.S.P. 20

After securing their place in the quarter-finals of the Towns Cup, Gorey were back on league duty with an away trip to D.L.S.P.

With crucial points at stake, the importance of this game couldn't be over-emphasised as both clubs were sitting in the relegation zone, and a win by either could almost condemn the losers to at least a play-off place come the end of the campaign.

On a beautiful day for rugby, Gorey started at a blistering pace and should have opened their account on at least three attempts in the first ten minutes.

After a missed penalty, 15 minutes later they finally registered on the scoreboard when Mark Whelan touched down after some excellent work from the pack. Steven Horan added the conversion.

Gorey's dominance continued but somehow poor decision-making and D.L.S.P. defiance managed to hold them at bay.

In the 32nd minute Gorey added their second try when Steven Horan raced over to touch down, and he also nailed the conversion.

The 14-0 score in reality did not reflect the game as Gorey had fully controlled the possession and the territory.

For the next eight minutes Salmo took little steps to get themselves back into the game. A number of infringements by Gorey gave them ground, and on the stroke of half-time Jimmy Weepener crossed for a try. Ben Stevens added the conversion to leave seven between the sides.

The second-half saw Salmo continue where they left off, and they added a further try and a conversion to lead by 14 with 20 minutes left.

The try came from a line-out on the Gorey five-metre line, and a well-controlled maul saw Andy Colclough touch down. Stevens added the conversion. Within minutes Salmo added a penalty as Stevens was on the mark once again.

Gorey were hanging on as D.L.S.P. tried to move the ball at every opportunity.

In the 64th minute Gorey finally steadied the ship and forced a penalty on the 35-metre line. Horan held his composure to land it and take the score to 17-17.

In the 70th minute, Horan again split the posts after some excellent work by the pack.

With four minutes left, back came Salmo and sustained pressure saw Gorey penalised. Stevens landed the penalty to draw the teams level on 20 points each.

History might look back at the events of next few minutes as the most important for Gorey in this very difficult season.

The game looked to be heading for a draw. From the kick-off Gorey were awarded a scrum after their rivals knocked on. Gorey upped their game from somewhere, and with some strong carries from Killian Breen, Steven Gardiner, Eoin Walsh and company, they were now punching holes in the home defence.

David Shannon forced the home team back on their five-metre line with a sublime kick. Good pressure from the visitors forced Salmo to just about clear their lines.

A number of phases later, Gorey had a scrum from almost 15 metres out, and from the base man of the match Jordan Ahearn picked to race over for the winning try, with Steven Horan adding the conversion.

There was still time for Salmo to come back. They threw the kitchen sink at Gorey but this time the visitors' defence stood strong and disciplined until Gorey finally turned the ball over and kicked to touch for the referee to end the proceedings.

Gorey won but it was a game they could have wrapped up a lot earlier as they squandered a number of gilt-edged chances. Instead they had to dig deep in the last few minutes for a win that lifts them out of the dreaded bottom two.

James Nolan, Dave Shannon and Steven Horan were the pick of the backs. Mark Whelan, Eddie Horan and man of match Jordan Ahearn were the best of the forwards.

The next game is away to Enniscorthy on Saturday, March 3.

Gorey: D. Gregan, B. O'Connor, D. Bellanova, S. Gardiner (capt.), M. Whelan, E. Horan, K. Breen, J. Ahearn, 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, S. Hadden, R. Harrington.

Wexford People