There could be a new name on the Meath SFC Keegan Cup after Ratoath surprised Gaeil Colmcille in the second of the semi-finals at Páirc Tailteann yesterday.
Ratoath will be appearing in their first decider following their fully merited 2-14 to 1-10 win over the Kells men. The north Meath side were continuing their losing streak at the semi-final stage, having lost four in the past five years.
They looked to be on course to end their last four agonies when leading 1-4 to 0-2 after Oisin Reilly netted on 19 minutes.
The Wallace brothers, Joey and Eamonn, showed glimpses of what they were capable of in the Ratoath attack in that opening half but it was Gaeil Colmcille who led 1-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
Ratoath were a transformed outfit in the second half and took control of proceedings right from the restart. Four successive points from Joey and Eamon Wallace, Ben McGowan and Conor Rooney had the sides’ level by the 35th minute.
Further points from the Wallace brothers left Ratoath ahead though Gaeil Colmcille were back level following two pointed frees from Brian Hanlon. The eventual winners regained the lead with a goal from Cian O’Brien who got a fist to an Eamon Wallace delivery on 44 minutes and they stayed ahead from there to the finish.
The lead was back to the minimum early in the third quarter but Gaeil Colmcille didn’t score again after Seamus Mattimoe pointed a free on 46 minutes. Further points from Joey Wallace and Bryan McMahon eased the pressure on Ratoath and strengthened their grip on proceedings.
It was substitute Daithí McGowan who put the game beyond doubt on 57 minutes when he drilled a low shot to the net from close range.
Joey Wallace then took his tally of points to six before the final whistle.
Ratoath’s opponents in the final will be Summerhill who will be hoping for third time lucky following their 2-12 to 2-10 semi-final win over Simonstown on Saturday.
The ‘Hill who last lifted the title in 2013 were beaten finalists for the last two years and this victory was sweet revenge for the defeat at the hands of the north Navan side in the 2017 decider.
Kevin Ryan was the Summerhill hero, scoring both goals. The opener arrived after just 18 seconds and his second came three minutes from the finish and left his side ahead by the minimum. Ryan then accounted for an insurance point in added-time.
It was that early goal which separated the team at the break, Summerhill leading 1-6 to 0-6.
Simonstown struck for two third-quarter goals to be level (2-6 to 1-9). The first of those Simonstown goals was scored by county panellists Niall Kane from an Andrew Kearney pass while Nicky O’Brien netted the second.
Barry Dardis restored the Summerhill lead from a free and Liam Shaw extended it from play.
However, with substitute Shane O’Rourke causing problems Simonstown upped the tempo considerably and they were back level following two converted frees from Padraig McKeever.
Conor Sheridan pointed the Navan side in front with three minutes remaining and their place in the final looked assured when Sean Tobin doubled that advantage.
However, Summerhill responded to the challenge in the best possible fashion with that match-winning goal from Ryan after Simonstown keeper had earlier blocked a Padraig Geraghty effort.
The final on Sunday, October 27, will be refereed by All-Ireland final referee, Slane club man David Gough.