REPORT Courtesy of hoganstand.com
Meath SFC final: Stylish Ratoath reach summit for first time
Conor Rooney goes past Summerhill keeper Tony McDonnell on his way to scoring Ratoath’s second goal during the Meath SFC final at Pairc Tailteann
A highly impressive showing saw Ratoath prove too good for Summerhill to claim the SFC title and the Keegan Cup for the first time at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday
Ratoath ………… 3-15
Summerhill …… 2-13
Ratoath registered two thirds of their total in the first-half and were 10 points clear by the time they completed their tally, in the 53rd minute.
In the last eight club campaigns, Ratoath have won the JFC and the IFC en route to claiming their maiden senior crown.
Joey Wallace was particularly impressive, complimenting his pace with three points from play to deservedly claim the Colum Cromwell man-of-the-match award.
His brother Eamon was one of five different scorers for the new champions as they raised 18 flags in total.
Ratoath posted the first two scores of the second-half, through Bryan McMahon (free) and Daithi McGowan free.
Summerhill went down with spirit and got the deficit down to five points on two occasions in the third quarter. Their best efforts couldn’t conjure up the required goal during this phase.
Ratoath responded positively when pressure was applied. Eamon Wallace spirited leap when he pointed to leave it 3-11 to 1-11 at the three-quarter stage suggested it was all over. Most of those looking on would have concurred.
However, Summerhill – who dramatically beat Ratoath in the round robin stage – did their best to stave off a third final defeat in a row outscoring Davy Byrne’s men in the final quarter.
They were denied a goal in the 57th minute when John Keane’s effort was smartly stopped by Shane Duffy. Summerhill softened the final scoreline by posting 1-2 without reply in the four minutes of added time with Ross Ryan netting from close range.
Sean Dalton and Paul Larkin played supporting roles for Kevin Ryan to fire to the net for Summerhill within 17 seconds of the throw-in.
Ratoath responded brilliantly. A foul on Daithi McGowan led to a penalty which Eamon Wallace netted expertly in the fourth minute with a fierce low drive to goalkeeper Tony McDonnell’s right.
Joey Wallace pointed Ratoath in front for the first time seconds later. They maintained pole position to the end.
The alternative kits sported by both teams allowed for easy identification by all in attendance. To further help in that regard the sun dimmed as Ratoath made their mark.
Bryan McMahon placed Conor Rooney for Ratoath’s second goal, taken with aplomb though there was suspiciion that scorer hopped the ball twice as he rounded an opponent.
Matters improved for Summerhill between the 11th and 20th minutes. The outscored Ratoath by 0-4 to 0-2 in that spell with Liam Shaw’s 18th minute score completing a neat build-up
Approaching the mid-point of the first-half Ross Ryan’s deft intervention when he turned the ball of the line stopped Joey Wallace netting for the first-time finalists.
Twenty minutes in wing-back Padraig Geraghty burst forward to send over and leave just two points between the sides, 1-5 to 2-4.
Ratoath replied by outscoring Summerhill by 1-3 to 0-1 in the run-up to the break when they led by 3-7 to 1-6.
Ratoath – Shane Duffy; Sean Brazil, Conor McGill, Ben Wyer; Ciaran O Fearraigh (C), Gavin McGowan, Jack Gillespie; Keith McCabe, Ben McGowan; Eamon Wallace (1-3, 1-0 pen), Conor Rooney (1-2), Daithi McGowan (1-2, 0-2fs); Joey Wallace (0-3), Cian O’Brien, Bryan McMahon (0-5, 3fs). Subs – Emmet Boyle for O Fearraigh (bc 43), Darragh Kelly for B McGowan (46), Brian O’Connor for D McGowan (54), Jack McGowan for O’Brien (57), Connell Ahearne for C Rooney (57), Andrew Gerrard for G McGowan (59), E Boyle (bc 70 + 4).
Summerhill – Tony McDonnell; Padraig Jennings, Ronan Ryan, John Lavelle; Padraig Geraghty (0-1), Ross Ryan (1-0), John Keane; Diarmuid McCabe (0-1), David Dalton; David Larkin (0-1), Paul Larkin, Kevin Ryan (1-1); Liam Shaw (0-1), Barry Dardis (0-7,6 fs), Sean Dalton (0-1). Subs – Micheal Byrne for Kevin Ryan (ht), Conor Frayne for Shaw (41), William Ryan for Paul Larkin (46).
Referee – David Gough (Slane).