Gorey Community School’s pack power was just too much for Dundalk Grammar School in a cracking Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Schools McMullen Cup Final at Donnybrook on Wednesday.

It was a difficult day for productive rugby in the constant drizzle as centre Daniel Molloy stepped in for an interception near halfway to give Dundalk a lift early on.

They didn’t waste it when their out-half Jack Connolly pounced on a loose ball behind the line for the opening try, converted by Jack Hughes for 7-0 in the ninth minute.

Grammar were content to drive at the fringes in the conditions until scrum-half Hughes picked the moment to kick to the corner.

McMullen Cup

Despite the wind and rain, the Gorey lineout was winning clean possession, quite an achievement, with Sean Dunne and Shane Stokes dominant figures.

Gorey added a powerful maul and fine drive from Stokes to take them out of trouble.
The problems came when the mistakes were made as Dundalk had strong carriers in prop Tobi Akinseloyian and lock Caoilin Traynor.

It was being reduced down into a battle of the gain line in which defences remained stubborn and hard-edged.

Gorey were using the aggression of flanker Cormac Wolohan-Walsh to carry and coming back to the short side to see out the half with the conditions in their backs for the second period.

McMullen Cup

They just weren’t accurate enough at cleanout time to be able to get out of their half.
Their openside Mark Boyle took the ball up and they broke forward for a respite from the pressure before Grammar lost Akinseloyian to a yellow card.

It looked like Gorey would take advantage of the extra body when prop Jack Ryan got a head-of-steam up just to lose the ball from his grasp as he went to ground it at the end of the half.

On resumption, the work of the Gorey forwards found reward when flanker Wolohan-Walsh ducked a tackle and escaped for a try which was converted by centre Sean Wafer to level it up in the 39th minute.

Unlike Dundalk, the North Wexford school looked to use the wind through Wafer for the reward of a scrum.

McMullen Cup

Their tails were up and Mark Boyle’s unorthodox grubber put them deep inside the 22.
It looked like the try had to come as Gorey worked away at the whitewash against defiant Dundalk, the former giving away a penalty for a double movement and the latter falling foul of indiscipline too.

Gorey were camped inside the 22 for at least 10 minutes, the driving of the entire back row of Wolohan-Walsh, Boyle and Stokes making the inroads for wing replacement Gonzalo Sanchez-Toscano to make the left corner for 12-7 in the 53rd minute.

It was far from over as Dundalk had it in them to move into the 22 where they went to the lineout without the control to build off of it.

McMullen Cup

They went toe-to-toe in a real barnstormer, every inch fought for like it was the last to be won.

Wafer pulled a penalty to leave it as a once-score game, the tension growing as the minutes ticked on.

It all came to a head when Gorey captain Stokes burst through two tackles on a 20-metre charge for the clinching try, converted by out-half Michael Duke in the 67th minute.

At Donnybrook – Gorey Community School 19 (S Stokes, C Wolohan-Walsh, G Sanchez-Toscano try each; S Wafer, M Duke con each); Dundalk Grammar School 7 (J Connolly try; J Hughes con).

Gorey: Mark Kehoe; Flynn Donnelly, Sean Wafer, Greg Bolger, Joseph Naughton; Michael Duke, Donough McGivern; Jack Ryan, Gonzalo Marquez, Dylan Sleator, Martin O’Loughlin, Sean Dunne, Cormac Wolohan-Walsh, Mark Boyle, Shane Stokes (capt).

Replacements: G Sanchez-Toscano for Kehoe 24 mins.

Dundalk: Eoin Brooks; David Murdock, Daniel Molloy, Max McGloin, Joshua Reynolds; Jack Connolly, Jack Hughes; Tobi Akinseloyian, Zac Coan, Peter Kerley, David Nwambu, Caoilin Traynor, Jonathan Johnson, T.A. Irwin, Andrew Cox (capt).

Replacements: Sean Walsh for Kerley 11 mins.

Referee: P Reidy, Leinster Branch