On a night when the fireside was very inviting Ratoath and Summerhill served up a thriller on a greasy pitch in incessant rain. A semifinal against either Dunshaughlin or St Colmcilles awaited the winners, and there was no doubting the eagerness of either team to come out on top. The exchanges were tough, and in difficult conditions referee Cormac Reilly’s decisions were always going to be critical, especially in a tight game. But in fairness the game was allowed to flow and only the most obvious transgressions were punished. In this regard Summerhill profited most from accurate freetaking by Eoghan Frayne, while Ratoath missed a couple of crucial efforts when the game was in the melting pot in the final quarter.
Ratoath tore out of the blocks with a point after 10 seconds, and their pace and quick accurate passing made life very difficult for the Summerhill defense, who like their colleagues further out took a while to get to the pitch or the game. Indeed things looked bleak after just 11 minutes when their senior talisman and county player, Adam McDonnell , went off with a knee injury. His replacement Darragh McVann slotted in immediately, and county colleague Eoghan Frayne simply switched gear as the Hill boys dominated the exchanges in the second quarter. The key moment in this game came in the 25th minute, when an inch perfect 30 meter pass from Adam Larkin to the chest of Frayne saw the ball drilled low to the corner. The goal cancelled out the major from Ratoath on 20 minutes which had come immediately after the visitors had taken the lead. Frayne’s goal stunned Ratoath and Summerhill tacked on another 5 points before the break to lead by 6, 1-09 to 1-03.
The second half was a war of attrition as Ratoath sought to use the wind and rain advantage to eat into the substantial lead. They got to within 3, but crucial turnovers in front of goal by the Summerhill defence prevented what would have been in the realms of highway robbery. Kian Hussey got it back to four with time almost up as Evan Gaffney turned over possession in midfield. The young minor substitute, who had replaced Adam Larkin, went on a solo run and laid off to Hussey who made no mistake. Ratoath, who had missed a couple of close in frees, got one more before Cormac Reilly sounded the long whistle.
And so ended what would have been a clean sweep by Ratoath against Summerhill in 2021. The visitors had lost a Senior quarter final and a Premier Championship final, but on an awful night for football that poor return was turned on its head in style.
The Ratoath venue is a fine one, and the new facilities beside the floodlit pitch look fantastic. Although not fully complete the club are now the proud owners of a hurling/football wall, as well as a state of the art Astro pitch incorporating 2×4 lane 50 meter sprint tracks. A credit to all.
Scores: Eoghan Frayne 1-07(4frees, 1 ‘45), Jamie O’Shea 0-3, Kian Hussey 0-1.
Team: Sean Hughes; Darren Chapman, Eoghan Grehan, Oisin Hussey; Luke Moran, Conor Ryan, Kevin Mulligan; Adam McDonnell, Donal Matthews; Adam Larkin, Jamie O’Shea, Conor Summerville; Gavin McVann, Eoghan Frayne, Kian Hussey.
Subs Used: Darragh McVann for Adam McDonnell, 11 min. Luke Byrne for Sean Hughes, 33 min. Evan Gaffney for Adam Larkin, 41 min.