J1s finish fourth and qualify for All Ireland Cup   19/03/2017


The final league game of the season saw Gorey host the All Ireland Club Champions, Ashbourne, in what was a dress rehearsal for next weekends Towns Cup quarter final. This game had a lot at stake also, for both teams, as the winner would automatically qualify for the All Ireland Cup by finishing in fourth place but this also depended on Dundalk losing to Monkstown.

On a windy afternoon it was Ashbourne who started the brighter, with Gorey's indiscipline costing the hosts on three occasions, in those opening minutes. Ashbourne were rightly rewarded and drew first blood with a Dunne penalty. Further Gorey indiscipline saw Mark Whelan sin binned and it looked odds on that Ashboune would take advantage. But it was Gorey who upped the ante and dug deep and, after sustained pressure by the forwards, Josh Thomas finally crossed for the opening try, James Nolan converted.

Further Gorey pressure saw another Nolan penalty extend the lead to 10 - 3. Gorey were now growing in confidence and a turnover deep in their own half saw a sweeping back move reach the Ashbourne line for the referee to award a penalty try after an infringement by the Ashbourne winger. With minutes left in the first half Ashbourne bounced back and went through the phases and could have reduced the lead but for a determined home defence and the clock. 17 - 3 was how the half ended.

The second half saw both teams throw the kitchen sink at each other as Ashbourne attacked at every opportunity. Again Gorey indiscipline was proving costly, and Ashbourne made them pay, with 3 Dunne penalties to reduce the lead to 17 - 12. The difficult conditions, and with one eye on the cup quarter final, both teams struggled in the final quarter to put any coherent passages of play together and the game ended with a narrow win for the hosts.

Next week is the Towns cup and if today's match was anything to go by it promises to be a great contest as there is not a lot between the sides. This win elevated Gorey into that all important fourth place and, after a terrible start to this league campaign, this has been a remarkable achievement to finish in the top four and to qualify for the All Ireland Cup.

Gorey had some good performances in the pack with D Bellanova, M. Whelan and B Horan the pick. The backs showed well too with J Thomas, J Nolan and man of the match Stephen Horan to the fore. Next week sees Gorey travel to Ashbourne for the postponed Towns Cup match, where all support will be greatly appreciated, date and time will be on the website during the week.

1. R Deering 2. B O Connor 3. D Bellanova 4. D O'Leary 5. A Copeland 6. M Whelan 7. B Horan 8. J P Redmond (Capt) 9. S Horan 10. S Dukes 11. J Thomas 12. J  Nolan 13. E Walsh 14.J Butterworth 15. N Copeland 16. E Horan 17. C Allen 18. S Triggs 19. D Shannon 20. G Bater


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