Ashbourne Come Up Second Best
Nobody said that defending a league title is easy and on Saturday Ashbourne went down by a penalty in the 6th minute of injury time to lose by 28 points to 25 in Gorey in a tough but entertaining game. The losing bonus point attained will be important in the in the end of the day and the league race is not a sprint with plenty of time.
Ashbourne were forced into a number of changes with Hurley crying off just before the kick off and Sean Kent making his first appearance of the season in the second row. McKeon and Martin were also missing as well as Jake Wall. That said the 15 who took the field put up a great performance against a dogged Gorey side who would not roll aside. There persistance saw them home.
The first 20 minutes saw both sides tussle it out with no score on the board. Penalties were an issue for Gorey and they were warned early on about this. That said they took the lead in the 20th minute when from a line out they mauled their way over the line to score a try which went unconverted. Ashbourne responded within 5 minutes and as they worked their way into the Gorey 22 their 2nd row high tackled Gibson as he broke through. Ashbourne went for the corner and when McCaghy’s lineout was worked across the pitch towards the posts Deevy acting as scrum half played a pass back to McCaghy who out Gibson into the corner for an unconverted try.
In the 30th minute poor tackling allowed Gorey retake the lead with a try under the posts. But as was the nature of the game Ashbourne were level 6 minutes later with Andy Whittaker touching down after strong work in the pack. Crotty converted to tie up the game at 12 all at that’s the way it was at halftime. Ashboiurne had been solid in the set pieces but Gorey tackled hard and were skillful in the backs. A second half with similar scoring was expected.
The half did not disappoint with Gorey striking first with a penalty and and 5 minutes to retake the lead, only for Crotty to tie things up a penalty at 15 all. It was that type of game and a score could have come from either side. Roche continuues to carry well and the front row of Wall, McCaghy and Behan are fronting up well. Crotty was controling game from 10 while Colreavy and O’Brien are solid in the center.
In the 15th minute Crotty put Ashbourne into the lead for the first time with a penalty but 10 minutes later the key event occurred which turned the game. Ashbourne were camped on the Gorey 5 meter line with multiple phases, but the Gorey 10 intercepted a pass that would have lead to an Ashbourne try to race the length of the field to score under the postes. At 22 to 18 most sides would have been dead and buried with this setback, but Ashbourne rallied and Deevy was coming more into the game. And it was the Meath man who worked his magic to score a great try which Crotty converted. The score now was 25 points to 22 to Ashbourne with 10 minutes left.
That 10 minutes stretched into 16 minutes with injury time and Gorey tied the game up in normal time and worked the pitch until they got the decisive penalty deep into injury time with a kick that turne dout to be the winning kick and the last kick of the game. Gorey ran out winners with a score of 28 points to 25, but Ashbourne had a lot to be proud of and wiil build on into the Enniscorthy game next week.
Next week Ashbourne are home to Enniscorthy in the Leinster League with a 3.00pm kick off. The 2nd XV have a 1.30pm kick off at the same venue.
Patrick Murtagh, Andrew Coade, Jack O’Brien, Dermot Colreavy, Andrew Gibson, Donal Crotty, Conor McNally, Alan Wall, James McCaghy, Mark Behan, Ciaran Roche, Sean Kent, Justin Whittaker, Simon Deevy, Andrew Whittaker.
Danny Norton, Frank Keegan, Shane Bass, Conor Malone
Tries: Andrew Gibson x 1; Andrew Whittaker x 1; Simon Deevy x 1
Conversions: Donal Crotty x 2
Penalty: Donal Crotty x 2