Gorey’s U18s travelled to Mullingar on St. Patrick’s Day to play Navan in the Leinster League Premier Final.

The U18s game would be the culmination of a full schedule of League Finals to be played on Mullingar’s 4G pitch on the day, which included Gorey’s U16s who had a fantastic win against Naas in their game.

There was a very large crowd of supporters who travelled from both clubs for this much anticipated final league game of the season, as well as those who hung back after earlier games to savour this contest between the cream of Leinster youths teams.

Once again, it was predetermined that this game would be subject to the “Result on the Day” rules, meaning that in the event of a draw, it would be whichever team scored the first try that prevailed. It was with this in mind that Gorey opted to start the game with the strong wind at their backs.

It was Gorey who started the strongest and outhalf Cathal Stokes kicked cleverly to give Gorey a lineout on Navan’s ’22. The ball was well-gathered by Tadhg O’Neill and a solid maul made its way for Navan’s tryline before Gorey No. 8, Mark Boyle, broke away and powered over the line for the opening try after just five minutes. Oisín Fortune added the conversion to leave the score; Gorey 07 – Navan 00.

Gorey were well in control and their set-pieces were working well. Another lineout on the 25-minute mark led to another maul, which was stopped short of the line. But the ball was recycled and Gorey went through several phases before Robert Murphy got over in the corner to increase their lead. Oisín Fortune struck the ball beautifully to convert from a very difficult angle. Gorey 14 – Navan 00

Gorey’s Frank Kavanagh and Cormac Walsh made some huge hits to stop Navan attacks, dislodging the ball on several occasions and forcing knock-ons.

Gorey had one more chance to score just before half-time when they were awarded a penalty about 40 metres out, but the option of kicking seemed too risky because of the swirling wind and so they opted for a scrum. Navan defended well to close out the half at 14 – 0.

The second-half started with Navan now having the benefit of the strong wind and they seemed revitalised as they immediately put Gorey under pressure.

They punished Gorey with a number of turnovers when Gorey were slow to hit the rucks and it was from one of these turnovers that they broke the defensive line to reduce the deficit 14 – 7.

Navan could have closed the scoreline gap entirely shortly afterwards when their winger was clear through for the line but Gorey’s alert full-back, Oisín Fortune inexplicably managed to steal the ball out of the winger’s hands just before it was grounded.

But Navan’s tails were up now and they could possibly sense a little weariness in Gorey’s defence. And so it was, after 20 minutes of the second half that they unsurprisingly got over the line once again to even things up at 14 apiece.

The “Result on the Day” rules meant that Navan weren’t through yet and the fact that there was still a quarter of an hour left to play meant that Gorey couldn’t sit back either.

It was now Navan who attacked time and time again, and a tiring Gorey were forced to defend. Brian O’Leary made some great tackles and the newly introduced Cian Kenny made a couple of good runs. But Navan were still proving very dangerous and Gorey supporters felt that the clock just wasn’t ticking fast enough for them.

As Navan threw everything at Gorey they moved inexorably towards the Gorey line and once again there was almost an inevitability when they got over for a try directly under the posts with ten minutes remaining; Gorey 14 – Navan 21.

This was an epic ding-dong battle that all the gathered supporters were relishing. One couldn’t blame Gorey if they let their heads down after this hammer blow, but it is a testament to this teams’ character that they came back out with a ferociousness that we hadn’t seen since the opening whistle. Within minutes of the restart they had battered their way, phase after phase, right up to the Navan tryline, where defenders desperately tried to keep Gorey out. But Gorey now had the bit between their teeth and they sensed that this was an all or nothing opportunity. It fell to Gorey’s Man of the Match, Frank Kavanagh to force his way over for a try. Gorey fullback Oisín Fortune made a valiant attempt at the conversion, which came back off the post to leave the score Gorey 19 – Navan 21 with just four minutes remaining on the clock.

Despite Gorey’s best efforts, Navan held on to the ball and closed out the game to give them victory after a tremendous second-half comeback.

This was a fantastic game of rugby featuring two talented and determined teams. It was only the width of the post that finally separated them. But both teams came be justifiably proud of their performances and commitment.

Gorey had some fine performances across the match-day squad, notably from Oisín Fortune and Oran Fitzpatrick, but for his gargantuan overall performance the Man of the Match goes to Frank Kavanagh.

Gorey’s season continues as they travel to Navan on Saturday for a Cup Quarter-final.


01. Martin O’Loughlin

02. Cormac Walsh

03. Jack Ryan

04. Joe Butler

05. Tadhg O’Neill (Capt.)

06. Robert Murphy

07. Frank Kavanagh

08. Mark Boyle

09. Cillian Tomkins

10. Cathal Stokes

11. Brian O’Leary

12. Adam Byrne

13. Seán Wafer

14. Oran Fitzpatrick

15. Oisín Fortune


16. Niall Kenny

17. Cian Kenny

18. Alex Rothwell

19. Carl Johnston

20. Gonzalo Sanchez

21. Eoin Canavan

22. Donough McGivern

23. Cian Sullivan


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