The shifting power in Meath GAA was further emphasised when first-time finalists Ratoath claimed senior football championship glory at Páirc Tailteann yesterday.
The Ratoath men who only won the intermediate in 2015 wasted little time in making an impression in the senior grade and it was their second title success having already picked up the Junior B crown two weeks earlier.
This was a third final defeat in a row for Summerhill who made a great start to proceedings but couldn’t match the speed, enthusiasm and sharpness of the winners.
Ratoath were relentless throughout and were never seriously troubled after they rattled in three first-half goals and led 3-7 to 1-6 at half-time.
The ‘Hill had few answers to the probing and guile of the Wallace brothers, Eamon and Joey, Bryan McMahon and Daithi McGowan in the Ratoath attack.
Keith McCabe and Ben McGowan dominated midfield for long spells while a tight marking defence frustrated Summerhill’s efforts following a shaky opening.
There was a sensational start to proceedings with Kevin Ryan finding the net for Summerhill after 18 seconds, bettering his semi-final feat when he netted after 25 seconds.
However Ratoath were unfazed by that blistering start and were back level when Eamon Wallace converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Daithi McGowan.
The first of three opening half points from Joey Wallace gave Ratoath a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on five minutes. Conor Rooney then struck for goal number two from close range after McMahon created the opening.
Summerhill with points from five players gradually closed the gap and were back within two points after 20 minutes.
However they only added another point, from a Barry Dardis free, for the remainder of the half as Ratoath finished with a brace of points from Joey Wallace, a Daithi McGowan goal and their final point of the half from Conor Rooney.
Daithi McGowan and McMahon stretched the lead on the restart before Summerhill staged a mini-revival with four successive points in as many minutes, leaving it 3-9 to 1- 10.
Eamon Wallace got Ratoath back on track with a score at the three-quarter mark.
The lead stretched to 10 points, after Rooney shot his side’s final point on 53 minutes.
The game was in added time when Ross Ryan booted a loose ball to the net for a consolation goal and Barry Dardis eventually took his tally of points to seven before the end.
It was too little too late though as Ratoath were crowned worthy champions.
E Wallace (1-3, 1-0 pen), B McMahon (0-5, 3f), D McGowan (2f), C Rooney (1-2 each), J Wallace (0-3).
B Dardis (0-7, 6f), K Ryan (1-1), Ross Ryan (1-0), L Shaw, D McCabe, P Geraghty, D Larkin, S Dalton (0-1 each).
S Duffy; S Brazil, C McGill, B Wyer; C O Fearraigh, G McGowan, J Gillespie; K McCabe, B McGowan; E Wallace, C Rooney, D McGowan; J Wallace, C O’Brien, B McMahon.
E Boyle for O Fearraigh (BC 42), D Kelly for B McGowan (45), B O’Connor for D McGowan (53), C Ahearne for O’Brien (56), J McGowan for Rooney (56), A Gerrard for G McGowan (59).
T McDonnell; P Jennings, Ronan Ryan, J Lavelle; P Geraghty, Ross Ryan, J Keane; D McCabe, D Dalton; D Larkin, P Larkin, K Ryan, L Shaw, B Dardis, S Dalton.
Micheál Byrne for K Ryan (32), Conor Frayne for Shaw (40), W Ryan for P Larkin (46).
D Gough (Slane)