Gorey’s U18.5s hit the road on Saturday, as they made their way to Kildare for their Leinster League fixture against Athy Rfc.

So far, Gorey had been blessed with terrific weather for all of their games this season, but today was different as non-stop overnight rain continued throughout the day, making ball-handling tricky for both sides.

Coming off the back to their win the previous week against Enniscorthy, Gorey would be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table with a convincing win.

Gorey kicked off into the driving rain, as the assembled supporters took cover under the trees lining the Athy pitch. It didn’t take long for them to lay down a marker for the day, as they chased down their own kick and gained possession. Mark Boyle made his presence felt early in the game as he made a break to release Gorey winger Brian O’Leary, before looping back around to receive the ball again and deliver it to Gorey captain Tadhg O’Neill, who was following closely on his shoulder and touched down for Gorey’s opening try of the game within the first minute of play. Oisín Fortune added the extras to leave the visitors leading 0 – 7.

From the Athy kick-off, Seán Wafer gathered the ball and set on his way into the Athy half before passing to Mark Boyle, who beat several defenders and released the ball out wide to winger Brian O’Leary, who did well to avoid touch and made a storming run along the line to give Gorey their second try within two minutes of play. Once again, Fortune was on target to bring the score to 0 – 14.

O’Leary picked up an injury while scoring his try and was replaced by Eoin Canavan.

Athy were understandably looking a little shell-shocked from this opening salvo and they worked hard to try to contain Gorey. But it was proving difficult, as Gorey’s set-pieces were very dominant, with a strong scrum being dictated by their front row of Jack Ryan, Cormac Walsh and Niall Kenny, as well as their lineouts with Martin O’Loughlin and Tadhg O’Neill stealing ball.

It was from one such lineout that the ball was taken and fed down to Seán Wafer, who linked up once again with Mark Boyle and on this occasion Cormac Walsh burst through the Athy defence to place the ball directly under the posts after 17 minutes of play, making the conversion even easier for the in-form Fortune. (Athy 0 – Gorey 21).

To Athy’s credit they fought back valiantly, but Gorey’s defensive line was proving impenetrable. Gonzalo Sanchez, Adam Byrne and Oran Fizpatrick in particular were stifling any Athy advances with some crunching tackles.

On the half-hour mark, tenacious scrum-half Cillian Tomkins, who had been spreading the ball beautifully all day, was rewarded for his hard work when he beat two Athy forwards and sprinted for the line and Gorey’s fourth try of the day. Fortune’s conversion brought the score to Athy 0 – Gorey 28.

Replacement winger, Eoin Canavan was also causing problems for the home team, as he ran some very good lines and made great yardage into Athy territory on a number of occasions.

As the final seconds of the first half were counting down, the Boyle-Wafer partnership was to add to Athy’s woes, as Mark Boyle broke the line before feeding the ball out to Wafer to score in the corner.

Even the ever reliable Fortune would have been excused for missing this tough kick from the sideline, with a gusting wind and torrential rain, but he judged his kick perfectly to leave the half time score; Athy 0 – Gorey 35.

The second half kicked off with no change in the conditions, as the rain continued to pour down.

Athy were first to apply the pressure as they worked their way into Gorey’s 22 in the first couple of minutes of the half, but Gorey took possession of the ball and looked to be controlling things well, as they passed the ball back to full-back Fortune to clear their lines, but the resulting kick was well blocked down by Athy and there was a scramble back into the in-goal area on the slippy surface, where Athy touched down for a try to reward their tenacity. (Athy 5 – Gorey 35)

Gorey responded just minutes later when Mark Boyle spotted a gap and evaded several players to trot under the posts to add his name to the list of try scorers. Fortune slotted over the easy kick to leave the score at; Athy 5 Gorey 42.

Gorey made some changes to their pack, with Rhys Slator, Cian Sullivan and Carl Johnston entering the fray.

Athy continued to fight hard and made some good ground at times, but Gorey’s defending was resolute, with Carl Johnston immediately announcing his presence with some ferocious hits. Martin O’Loughlin also defended well and he carried great ball for Gorey all day long, inevitably pulling in several defenders as they tried to halt his progress.

Joe Burke saved Gorey’s bacon on a couple of occasions, as he chased what looked like lost causes when Athy kicked over the defensive line. Burke gathered the ball well before taking it right back in the Athy half, dancing past attempted tackles en route.

Oisín Fortune now fancied getting his name on the scoresheet as a try scorer, rather than kicker, and he made a fantastic run, with Joe Burke in hot pursuit. He looked to be in for a certain try, but was stopped just inches from the line by a great tackle from the Athy winger.

As the half progressed, Gorey were reduced to 14 men when Mark Boyle was judged to have used his hands in a ruck, where he felt he had legally turned over the ball. But Gorey’s defence held firm.

As the game drew to a close, Joe Burke made another of his scintillating runs and offloaded to Seán Wafer for his second and Gorey’s seventh try of the day.

Final Score: Athy 5 Gorey 47.

There were so many deserving candidates on the day for Man of the Match, but it went to Seán Wafer not just for his great play but also for his great decision making and leadership skills on the pitch.

Next weekend Gorey continue their league campaign as the welcome Mullingar to Clonattin.


Jack Ryan

Cormac Walsh

Niall Kenny

Joe Butler

Tadhg O’Neill (Capt.)

Martin O’Loughlin

Oran Fitzpatrick

Mark Boyle

Cillian Tomkins

Seán Wafer

Brian O’Leary

Adam Byrne

Gonzalo Sanchez

Joe Burke

Oisín Fortune


Rhys Slator

Cian Sullivan

Carl Johnston

Eoin Canavan


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