Gorey’s U18s got back to league action on Saturday following their 2nd round D’Arcy Cup win last weekend.

However, whilst they got away with a win last weekend with a depleted squad and players playing out of position, this week they found it impossible to cope with ten players being unavailable for selection, including most of their backline, against a strong Portlaoise team. And so, they travelled with just 16 players for this crucial game.

It took a while for players to settle in to unfamiliar positions, with a number of Gorey’s Forwards slotting into Backs positons, and their winger having to fill-in as scrum-half for the first time. It was during this settling-in period that Portlaoise took advantage, with two identical tries within the opening eight minutes. Both tries resulting from kicked-through balls, which their speedy winger pounced upon. (Portlaoise 14 – Gorey 0)

As the game progressed and Gorey settled and went through the phases, Frank Kavanagh made a strong run, breaking several tackles before releasing Mark Boyle for Gorey’s opening score. (Portlaoise 14 – Gorey 5)

Gorey’s Cormac Walsh was their go-to ball carrier and he slipped several attempted tackles before passing out to Martin O’Loughlin, who appeared to touch down under the posts, but was adjudged to have been held up.

Gorey were penalised in the resulting 5m Scrum and Portlaoise got out of jail after sustained Gorey pressure.

However, it was a moment of magic that presented the next score, as Gorey’s Cormac Walsh once again took on the ball in his own half, sitting down his opposing No. 7 and once more shifting several tackles to run the length of the pitch. He was finally caught by the Portlaoise Full Back, but not held in the tackle and went over for an incredible solo try. (Portlaoise 14 – Gorey 10)

As the clock ticked toward the break, Portlaoise were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which they converted to leave the half-time score; Portlaoise 17 – Gorey 10.

The second half started with Gorey piling on the pressure and Portlaoise defending well, while trying to slow down the game. Within five minutes of the restart Portlaoise were reduced to 14 men, when their large Second Row was yellow carded for persistent infringements.

Gorey took advantage soon afterwards when Jack Ryan powered through several defenders before releasing to the dam-busting Cormac Walsh who went over for his second try of the day to level things up. (Portlaoise 17 – Gorey 17)

As Portlaoise were restored to full strength, their talented outhalf sold a dummy and ran over for a try in the corner to restore the home side’s lead. (Portlaoise 22 – Gorey 17)

Gorey’s lineout had worked well for them and it was from one of these that they rolled a maul toward the Portlaise line, only for it to be brought down. As the referee held out his arm to indicate advantage for Gorey, Mark Boyle didn’t wait for any second chances and he dived over for his second try of the day to bring the sides level once again. (Portlaoise 22 – Gorey 22)

With just two minutes left on the clock, it looked like these two teams wouldn’t be separated, but when the referee called advantage, this time for Portlaoise, their outhalf decided to chance a free play and kicked a long ball out towards the wing, which was expertly gathered by their winger, who scored the final try of the game to leave the final score; Portlaoise 27 – Gorey 22.

All credit to this young Portlaoise side who gave themselves a chance of a semi-final spot with this win.

As for Gorey, well no side can afford to lose ten players and still expect to go out and win all their games in this competitive Premier League. All of the players who did tog-out can be justifiably proud of their performance, but at the end of the day for crucial games such as this, you need to travel with a full squad.

There were some outstanding performances across the park for Gorey with Eoin Canavan performing well as Scrum Half and Frank Kavanagh, Jack Ryan and Mark Boyle showing well, but Gorey’s Man of the Match goes to Cormac Walsh, who set the example for the entire team with his never-give-up attitude.

This loss puts Gorey’s semi-final ambitions in jeopardy, meaning that they will need a win in their outstanding game against neighbours Wexford.


01. Niall Kenny

02. Cormac Walsh

03. Jack Ryan

04. Rhys Slator

05. Tadhg O’Neill (Capt.)

06. Frank Kavanagh

07. Martin O’Loughlin

08. Mark Boyle

09. Eoin Canavan

10. Cathal Stokes

11. Robert Murphy

12. Adam Byrne

13. Cian Kenny

14. Alex Rothwell

15. Oisín Fortune


16. Cian Sullivan


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