Gorey suffer big blow
As league games go, this clash between the top two in Division 1B was always going to be a must-win game for both.
Kilkenny 9 - Gorey 6
With only three games left, this game would go a long way in deciding the destination of the league title. Gorey, who had led the league from the opening day of the season, slipped up in Wicklow to allow Kilkenny edge in front for the first time this season.
But with only two points separating the two, both teams knew the importance of this game, and the huge crowd in Kilkenny boosted with a fine support from Gorey was a testimony to that.
With a strong breeze blowing across the pitch that seemed to be coming from Siberia, the game kicked off with Gorey putting strong pressure on the home team.
A quick-thinking Shane Luby dropped a goal to put the first score on the board for Gorey.
From the kick-off Gorey were again back on the attack and could have added to their score, but somehow Kilkenny managed to keep them at bay. Further Gorey pressure saw them back in the Kilkenny '22 and number 8 Geoff Dunne was just stopped short when he looked to have the line at his mercy.
To be fair to Kilkenny, they defended well during this period and looked to move the ball at every opportunity, but such was the tightness of the exchanges that scoring chances were hard to come by.
The half-time whistle saw Gorey hold the lead 3-0 and they will wonder how they did not score more with so much possession.
The second-half started with Gorey again back on the attack and shading the exchanges, but they just could not find the opening to put Kilkenny to the sword. Gorey were penalised at the breakdown and a super kick from the halfway line saw Kilkenny pull level against the run of play.
Further Gorey pressure saw them edge in front with a Shane Luby penalty, but this was to be their last score. Kilkenny finally lifted the siege and created the opportunity to score a drop goal to pull level.
This seemed to galvanise the home team as they turned the tables on Gorey, and when Gorey were penalised another successful kick saw Kilkenny edge in front 9-6. For the last ten minutes Gorey laid siege to the Kilkenny line but a determined home defence managed to keep their line intact as Gorey threw the kitchen sink at them.
The final whistle sounded to the cheers of the home support. Gorey will wonder how they lost this after having so much possession, but an organised home defence managed to keep them at bay and more importantly go five points clear of them at the top of the table.
Geoff Dunne, Ciarán Allen and Richard Deering showed well in the forwards while Garret Bater, Shane Luby and Brendon Spears were the pick of the backs.
Next week is the first round of the Provincial Towns Cup and for the second year in a row Gorey have been drawn at home to Mullingar. This promises to be a cracking game as Mullingar are flying high in Division 2A.
Team: C. Allen, F. Bolger, R. Deering, A. Copeland, J.P. Redmond, J. Ahern, M. Woods, G. Dunne, G. Bater, S. Luby, A. Walsh, M. Bater, S. Byrne, K. Breen, B. Spears, T. Tomkins, B. O'Connor, J. Mulligan, A. O'Brien, P.J. Clince, B. Horan.
Kilkenny 8, Gorey 6: Gorey seconds travelled to Kilkenny on Sunday for their league clash. They had been in contention for so long but narrowly lost their last two games to Wicklow and Kilkenny respectively.
This was more down to injuries on the first team which saw coaches Lloyd Furlong and Philip Jones lose a number of their front line players. But the strength of any club is their panel and this Kilkenny game was now more in preparation for the upcoming Towns Cup which sees the J2s travel to Birr on February 15 for the first round.
The game kicked off with Gorey playing with the strong breeze. Kilkenny got into their rhythm early and moved the ball at every opportunity. Gorey defended well but were struggling in the set-pieces.
The first opportunity came to the home team when awarded a penalty in a very kickable position which sailed by the post. But Kilkenny kept coming and on 20 minutes crossed for the opening try which they did not convert.
Gorey settled after this as the wind died back and for the remainder of the half they put some phases together and were awarded a penalty for Clinton Furney to score.
The second-half saw Gorey come more into the game and after 15 minutes Clinton Furney put them in front with a penalty. It was shortlived as Gorey gave away a penalty and Kilkenny put it between the posts to edge in front 8-6.
The strong wind was to aid the home team as they pinned Gorey back. Despite this Gorey never gave up and showed great character in keeping the score at 8-6 as the final whistle sounded.
Best for Gorey were Eddie Horan, Gavin Mullins and Eoin Walsh in the forwards while Clinton Furney, Clement Power and John Condren showed well in the backs. Gorey are away to Wicklow on Saturday in the league.
Team: N. Rothwell, C. Owley, T. Tomkins, C. Hennessy, J. Reynolds, K. Rothwell, E. Horan, G. Mullins, C. Furney (capt.), P.J. Clince, S. Rafferty, C. Power, J. Cleary, J. Condren, S. O'Leary, C. Owley, E. Warren, D. Redmond, S. Carty, C. French, E. Walsh, E. Warren, J. Mulligan.