Gorey’s Under-19s team faced their old rivals Wexford on Saturday in the climax of the South East League…

Gorey won the toss to have home advantage in this much anticipated final. These two talented teams had faced each other both home and away in the earlier stages of this very competitive league, with Wexford coming out victors on both occasions.

However, Gorey had shaved the Wexford advantage to just a few points in their last encounter and the home crowd eagerly waited to see if they could overcome their neighbours.

The game kicked-off at 11.30am with clear skies and only a little wind, but conditions were sticky under foot after recent rain and a long season of wear on the pitch. Wexford immediately tested Gorey’s full back with a long high ball, which their winger chased up and both competed for the ball, with the Wexford winger coming out on top. He ran a great line to avoid two Gorey defenders who lost their footing in the slippery conditions. After a straightforward conversion, and just a couple of minutes into the game, Gorey found themselves 7-0 down

This wasn’t the start Gorey would have hoped for and Wexford couldn’t believe their luck to have put points on the board so early in the game. Gorey immediately put their game plan into action and it wasn’t long before Wexford were pushed back into their own 22. The rucks were fiercely contested but Gorey were giving nothing away and only two minutes after Wexford’s score Gorey were awarded a penalty for holding-on and James Nolan slotted over a difficult kick to draw the score back to 7-3.

Gorey lost their flanker Eric Lacey after just eight minutes due to an injury. Lacey had been having a very good game up until then and was contributing to Gorey’s good scrummaging.

Gorey’s scrum-half Micheál O’Scannáil was having a great game and causing a lot of problems for his opposing number, as well as feeding great ball to out-half Cathal O’Neill. Gorey continued to make incursions into Wexford half with some great passing through their centres and some good runs by Eoin Walsh at 13. It wasn’t long before Wexford were forced to concede another penalty, which was put away to bring the difference to just one point at 7-6 and it remained that way until half-time.

The second half began with no changes of personnel and both teams put in ferocious performances at the start of the half as they both realised the game was there for the taking. Wexford now began to put Gorey under pressure with long testing balls from their out-half. Gorey’s defence was resolute, with some crunching tackles coming in from captain Donnchadh Carroll and J.J. Earle. Gorey’s Sam O’Keefe came on for David Eikrem and took up position on the wing, with Jack Cleary moving to full back.

Just moments after taking to the field, O’Keefe made a tremendous tackle on his opposite number, who looked like he was through for a score. Wexford continued to try to find a way through Gorey’s line and were eventually rewarded with a penalty of their own with just 10 minutes remaining, but the kick didn’t have the required legs and the ball fell short and under the bar.

Gorey now went into overdrive and drove Wexford back into their own half with wave after wave of attack. Now it was Gorey’s turn to have a shot as they were awarded a penalty with only five minutes of normal time remaining on the clock. James Nolan stepped up once again and his shot seemed destined to float neatly between the posts, only for the wind to pick up and draw it just left of the upright. Panic might easily have set in for most teams but this Gorey team were well-drilled and well-disciplined and they stuck to their game plan and pinned Wexford into their 22 and to Wexford’s credit they defended determinedly.

Just as it looked like Gorey would run out of time, the referee penalised Wexford once again for holding-on and he made it clear that this would be the last play of the game.

The pressure was palpable as James Nolan stepped up once again, with the wind now swirling around, to take an all-or-nothing kick. Silence descended on the large crowd only to be broken by the most tremendous roar as he slotted the ball over to give Gorey the win nine points to six. This scoreline doesn’t fully reflect what a nail-biting encounter this game was, with tremendous play by both teams, who were fitting participants in this final.

This was a fitting end to a great season for a group of Gorey players who have given everything throughout the season and richly deserved this reward. For some this would be the last time they play together as a team, as some head off to college or further afield.


1. Kallum O’Donoghue
2. J.J. Earle
3. James Mulligan
4. Josh Bergin
5. Zach Sinnott
6. Eric Lacey
7. Donnchadh Carroll (Captain)
8. Harry Woods
9. Micheál O’Scannáil
10. Cathal O’Neill
11. David O’Neill
12. James Nolan
13. Eoin Walsh
14. Jack Cleary
15. David Eikrem


16. Seán Mahon
17. Joe O’Loughlin
18. Charlie Wildes
19. Sam O’Keefe
20. Chris Martin
21. Cian Savage
22. Eanna Crowe