Gorey’s Under 17s made their first outing last Saturday, travelling to Tullow to play a South East League fixture.

This was not just the first game for these two teams coming together (U15s moving up to join the younger U17s from last season) but also the first game under the new coaching and management team of Philip Doyle (Head Coach), Ken Kenny and Declan Gibney with Nicola Doyle the new Manager.

The day turned out to be beautifully sunny with practically no wind, perfect rugby conditions in stark contrast to the rain storms the day before.

Both Gorey and Tullow were missing a large number of players due to the ongoing GAA season. Tullow fielded a physically larger team and it looked like Gorey were going to have a tough day at the office. This feeling was confirmed when after just 3 minutes into the game, Tullow cut through Gorey’s defence off a scrum in their 22, to score their first try, which was converted to leave the home side 7 – 0 up.

Tullow continued to pile on the pressure from the kick-off and a few handling errors meant Gorey found themselves pinned in their own 22. But Gorey had now organised their defensive line very well and were proving impossible to penetrate.

It didn’t take long for Gorey to put together a number of silky passes and quickly work themselves up the field for a superb team-try in the corner, scored by Cillian Tomkins. Tullow looked a little shell-shocked after this try, which was arguably against the run of play.

Tullow 7 – Gorey 5

However, Gorey were now beginning to grow in confidence with some excellent link work between outhalf Henry Kennedy and centre Greg Bolger. Each time Gorey made it into the Tullow half they demonstrated speedy play spreading the ball the full width of the pitch and you felt it was only a matter of time before they would be on the score sheet again.

Gorey continued to work themselves into Tullow territory, help by a strong scrum and a lineout that was working well and frustrating the opposition.

One of the outstanding performances on the day came from Dylan Sawyer, who made barnstorming run after run. On the 25 minute mark he was rewarded when some characteristically fast Gorey play released Sawyer 15 metres from the Tullow try line and you just knew that nobody was going to stop him.

Tullow 7 – Gorey 10

- Half Time –

The second half began much as the first half had ended with Gorey’s centres making great runs before spinning the ball out to the wings. Flynn Donnelly operated very well, as did Cormac Walsh who was playing in an unusual position for him out on the wing.

Gorey didn’t take long to add to their lead when Henry Kennedy put Greg Bolger through to run under the posts for his try and to make the conversion that bit easier for his teammate.

Tullow 7 – Gorey 17

Kennedy finally had his reward ten minutes later when he spotted a gap and went for it to score his own try, which he converted in style.

Tullow 7 – Gorey 24

A few tactical changes were made by Doyle, Gorey’s new Head Coach, as he moved around a few players; strengthening the scrum, as well as changing the lineout tactics, which Tullow had now gotten their heads around, and once again frustrating them at each lineout.

Gorey fitness paid dividends as they kept up the pace throughout the second half and never took their foot off the pedal.

Another superb interlinking between outhalf and centres fed Greg Bolger for his much-deserved second try to leave the final score at

Tullow 7 – Gorey 29

This was a great start for this new team, particularly when you consider how many players they were missing. It bodes well for the future, but also sends a message to all players on the panel that starting team places will be hard won and every player will need to give 100% commitment and be at their very best in order to claim a jersey.


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