Saturday 14th January 2017

As the Leinster Premier League reaches the closing stages of Phase 2, prior to the knockout phase finals, Gorey U17s welcomed close rivals Wicklow to Clonattin.

Gorey came into this game unbeaten and seven points clear at the top of the table, with Wicklow in contrast looking to save any chance of their progression after losing to Boyne last week.

Despite forecasts of an arctic freeze, perfect conditions welcomed both teams. Gorey started the stronger, pinning Wicklow back in their own 22 but were unable to break the visitors’ defence to score. Wicklow relied on the trusty boot of their talented out-half time and again to relieve the pressure by kicking themselves out of danger, only for Gorey to come right back at them repeatedly.

But Wicklow’s final defensive line was resolute and Gorey were unable to convert this early dominance to points. The game was being played at a frenetic pace and Gorey had to content themselves with a penalty 15 minutes into the game to put them three points to the good. (Gorey 3 – Wicklow 0)

It was Wicklow who now came on the offensive with their strong Number 8 stealing several balls from the bottom of Gorey rucks. Gorey’s own defensive line was now being tested, but it held firm and the game locked into a stalemate with neither side giving any quarter.

With half an hour gone, Wicklow were rewarded with a penalty for Gorey going offside and they opted to kick into the corner for touch. From the lineout, they went through the phases steadily advancing toward the Gorey try-line, but at what would surely be their final push over the line Gorey Captain, Robert Murphy somehow managed to steal the ball and the danger was averted.

But as the clocked ticked toward the half-time mark, Wicklow were rewarded with yet another penalty, this time apparently for Gorey entering a ruck from the side. Although within easy kicking distance, Wicklow chose not to take the points and once again kicked for the corner. The lineout that resulted would be the last play of the half and Wicklow made no mistake this time as they worked their way to the line, protecting the ball each time, until they finally scored their opening try under the posts.  The successful conversion sailed over as the referee blew for half-time.

(Gorey 3 – Wicklow 7)

The second half started as the first had begun with Gorey piling on the pressure, but Wicklow defended like a team whose lives depended on it and they repelled attack after attack. Once again, a lot of Gorey’s hard work was squandered as they surrendered the ball at the ruck, having worked their way up the field.

This was turning into a battle royal, which the scoreline didn’t reflect, as both sets of supporters cheered tenacious play by both teams who were giving every last drop on the pitch.

Gorey Centre, Mark Boyle kicked through some exquisite balls but they just didn’t work out on the day.

Another kick for touch half way through the second half saw Gorey’s lineout go uncontested by Wicklow and Gorey drove for the line, but were stopped just short by a superb Wicklow defence.

Every 50/50 ball was fought for with incredible intensity by these two well matched teams.

Finally, Gorey seemed to have broken the deadlock when Second-row Cian Kenny appeared to get over the line, but the referee deemed it held-up and a five-metre scrum to Gorey resulted.

The game finished with Gorey camped on Wicklow’s try-line, but unable to break the visitors fortress-like defence.

The final score; Gorey 3 – Wicklow 7, was probably a fair reflection of the play and in particular a testament to Wicklow’s outstanding defence.

Gorey come away with a valuable losing bonus point, still leaving them at the top of the table, with a five-point lead over both Wicklow and Boyne.

This was a feast for any neutral supporter, but it’s doubtful that there were any such uncommitted in attendance.

Gorey will regret giving away so much ball at ruck time, but overall can be happy with their performance.

With just two games left before the crucial knock-our stage, Gorey have two very tough appointments away to Boyne and North Kildare.


Jack Ryan

Toby Falconer

Niall Kenny

Joe Butler

Tadhg O’Neill

Dylan Sawyer

Frank Kavanagh

Robert Murphy (Captain)

Cillian Tomkins

Mark Kehoe

Adam Byrne

Mark Boyle

Seán Wafer

Flynn Donnelly

Oisín Fortune


Cian Sullivan

Kyle Donnelly

Cian Kenny

Ryan Gibney

Mark Doyle

Henry Kennedy

Ryan Kinsella

Greg Bolger


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