U-18s still un­beaten

Gorey all set for Na­van show­down

Wexford People - - SPORT -

THE GOREY Un­der-18s trav­elled to Sk­er­ries on Satur­day for their penul­ti­mate game in the qual­i­fy­ing phase of the Le­in­ster Premier League

They needed a win to go joint top of the league with Na­van, who they are due to face in the fi­nal game of this se­ries.

In­juries the pre­vi­ous week to two of Sk­er­ries’ props meant that the game was played with un­con­tested scrums.

Gorey started strong­est, im­me­di­ately putting the home side on the back foot. Within min­utes they had worked them­selves into Sk­er­ries ’22, and a fine kick from Cathal Stokes left them with a line-out.

Tadhg O’Neill com­fort­ably gath­ered the ball and it found its way out again to Stokes who deftly chipped over the de­fen­sive line for the speedy Seán Wafer to chase and gather for Gorey’s open­ing try. Stokes also added the con­ver­sion.

Sk­er­ries fought back and found them­selves with a line-out on Gorey’s five-me­tre line. Gorey man­aged to tap the ball away from the Sk­er­ries jumper but their alert scrum-half was first to re­act and for­tu­itously pounced for an equal­is­ing try to leave the sides level (7-7).

On the 20-minute mark Gorey were awarded a five-me­tre scrum from which they passed the ball out and formed a maul. They marched re­lent­lessly to­wards the Sk­er­ries line where Oran Fitz­patrick grounded the ball in a well-or­ches­trated move straight from the train­ing field.

Just min­utes later, cen­tre Seán Wafer col­lected the ball in Gorey’s half and ran the length of the pitch, dodg­ing and weav­ing be­tween at­tempted tack­les for a su­per solo try. Stokes, deputis­ing for in­jured reg­u­lar kicker Oisín Fitz­patrick, slot­ted over the con­ver­sion to leave Gorey lead­ing 19-7.

In­cred­i­ble tack­ling by Joe But­ler, Alex Roth­well and Frank Ka­vanagh en­sured that the home side’s progress was stopped in its tracks.

The first-half fin­ished with a penalty to Gorey, which Stokes con­fi­dently con­verted to leave them ahead 22-7.

Gorey launched sev­eral rolling mauls on the re-start, all of which were stopped by Sk­er­ries just short of the try line. Fi­nally, they man­aged to march one right across the line for Cor­mac Walsh to score, but the ref­eree was un­sighted and deemed it to be held up.

Ten min­utes into the sec­ond-half, Gorey were re­duced to 14 men when Joe But­ler was yel­low carded for what seemed like a text book tackle.

Sk­er­ries couldn’t cap­i­talise on their nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage as Gorey’s de­fence was well or­gan­ised and im­pen­e­tra­ble. In par­tic­u­lar, two out­stand­ing tack­les by winger Eoin Cana­van stopped what could have been valu­able scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the home side.

Once again Seán Wafer chased af­ter a Cathal Stokes kick-through, and he gath­ered the ball with­out miss­ing a step and grounded di­rectly un­der the posts for his hat-trick try, but to his sur­prise the ref­eree called play back for off­side.

It didn’t take long for Wafer to re­spond as, giv­ing no op­por­tu­nity for any dis­putes, he gath­ered a loose ball in mid­field and ran through for his well-de­served hat-trick.

Sk­er­ries re­sponded al­most im­me­di­ately with a try of their own when their winger man­aged to avoid a tackle to bring them a lit­tle closer to Gorey at 29-12.

Sk­er­ries were re­warded for their per­se­ver­ance in over time when they scored another try, leav­ing a fi­nal score of 29-17.

For his in­cred­i­ble in­di­vid­ual skill, as well as his team ef­forts, man of the match was Seán Wafer.

This win for Gorey sets up a mouth-wa­ter­ing fi­nal game next week as they travel to Na­van. Both sit at the top of the league ta­ble and both are the only two un­beaten teams in their qual­i­fier group.

Gorey: Niall Kenny, Cor­mac Walsh, Jack Ryan, Joe But­ler, Tadhg O’Neill (capt.), Oran Fitz­patrick, Alex Roth­well, Frank Ka­vanagh, Cil­lian Tomkins, Cathal Stokes, Eoin Cana­van, Adam Byrne, Seán Wafer, An­drew Cushen, Brian O’Leary. Subs. - Carl John­ston, Cian Sul­li­van, Rhys Sla­tor, Kyle Man­ning, Gon­zalo Sanchez, Donough McGivern.

Gorey used the maul to great ef­fect in Sk­er­ries on Satur­day.

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