Sat, 21st Nov, 2015

Ratoath v Na Fianna

The game began with Na Fianna getting away to a blistering start with an early goal from Vincent Ward from mid-field. The pairing of Ward and Shane Walsh at midfield dominated the first half and Na Fianna scored two more goals and knocked over 3 points, including two Cian Flynn Fees in this early period of dominance.Ratoath were on the racks when in their very first attack on goal, when Evan Donnelly was pulled down inside the small parallelogram for a penalty which was duly dispatched by Nathan Dunne showing none of the signs of being rattled that most of his team mates, management team, parents and supporters were experiencing at that time in the game.Three more Ratoath points and a well worked second goal from Dunne just before the break gave the South Meath “Non-Dublin” border club a much needed lifeline going into the break with just a 3 points deficit. 3-3 to 2-3 behind.

The Na Fianna lads again gained a period of dominance in the early period of the second half and two well worked points coming from the Ward and Walsh midfield combination increased their lead

The Ratoath lads now though began to take over in the middle in the field with some excellent fielding from Daithi McGowan, Evan Donnelly and Sean Johnson getting to grips with the powerful Na Fianna midfield pairing. Huge work rate, fitness courage and a never -say- die attitude prevailed on the day and Ratoath dominated the final quarter of the game and ran out eventual winners by 9 points.The Na Fianna performance was powerful, honest and skillful as it always is, Best for Na Fianna were Shane Walsh, Vincent Ward, Kevin Coffey and Cian Flynn. Oren Smullen was excellent at center-back and Steven Slevin had a great performance at full back.For Ratoath, Daithi McGowan, Adam Whelan and Sean Johnson had standout performances with Cian Rogers contributing 2-5 while Shane McGoldricks 2 second half points and the long range score of the game from McGowan proved to be the turning points. Nathan Dunne always looked dangerous throughout scoring 2-1. Aaron McNally’s introduction following a black card after 10 mins for Ratoath centre back Ruairi Crawford proved to be a forced bit of luck as McNally was everywhere and proved a threat throughout. In defense Ben Wyer had a man-of the match contender performance restricting the skillfull Flynn to just two pointed frees. He was ably assisted by Cathal Tormay and Sean Brazil while the introduction of Jack Flynn 10 mins into the second half steadied the ship for Rataoth and snuffed out any chance of a late comeback from the opposition.

Post match quotes included the following : firstly from Coiste Fe 18 Chairman John Kavanagh “It is a testament to both teams to be able to put up a display of such quality, skilled, committed and honest football at this time of the year. This game demonstrates that underage football in Meath is not quite in the trouble everyone would like to say it is… todays’s game was as high a standard of U15 football as you would see in any county. Congratulations to both teams” .

Ratoath Manager Paul McCann said after the Game “ I am delighted with the individual and collective courage shown by the Ratoath lads, when a 10 point deficit and losing centre-back and team Captain Ruairi Crawford to a black card at that time, things looked pretty bleak after 10 mins. We know that these lads have a grit and determination as a team that when they dig deep and pull together as a team the sum of the parts far outweighs the individual contributions… We are extremely proud of each and every one of them. I would also like to acknowledge the Na Fianna lads, they were strong, their midfield pairing was immense, Centre Half back, Centre Half forward and Full forward were top class,I know defeat is not easy, but they should be very proud of their contribution they represented themselves, their familes and their club with honour and dignity, there was not one nasty word or tackle they behaved like men… well done lads your day will come.”Final Score: Ratoath 4-11 to Na Fianna’s 3-05