Bit of history as Ratoath storm to Feile hurling title

Meath Division 1 Féile na nGael hurling final

Ratoath 4-4 Trim 1-2

After coming through two cracking encounters in the group stage against Clann na nGael and Kildalkey at the weekend, Ratoath earned a shot at serial Féile winners Trim – and a shot at history. And they delivered in style.

This was a fitting reward after a brilliant series of displays based on team work and team spirit.

All roads lead to Galway!

This year’s competition in the home of the All-Ireland champions will really be something to look forward to, after holding their nerve at Meath’s Centre of Excellence on Wednesday night.

Trim had the benefit of a strong breeze blowing down the field and put the pressure on early, rattling in an early goal. And when another free sailed over the bar, it looked like Ratoath had it all to do. But starting from goalkeeper Tim Fitzpatrick, who showed ice-cool composure throughout and got his team on the front foot with some big puck-outs, the defence began to get on top.

John Fitzharris showed maturity beyond his years in one corner, while Fionn Nolan didn’t give his opponent an inch in the other. In between, Tomas ‘Mossie’ Corbett was a rock-like presence, thundering out to clear his lines. As soon as Ratoath moved the ball quickly inside to full-forward Ronan Conheady, the scores flowed. A smart turn and point got his team off the mark and then a crisp pass from the all-action Ben Fraser, saw Ronan slip the full-back and bury the ball to the net.

Trim steadied with a free, but with Liam Kelly rampaging forward and Chris Haskins and Maitiu Duggan clearing their lines in style alongside him in the half-back line, Ratoath made light of the breeze. This time it was another of the talented triplets who set up the second goal, Liam having the smarts to send a dangerous ball in around the square. In his best impression of Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Ronan doubled the sliotar first time to the net to give Ratoath a 2-1 to 1-2 lead at half-time.

Turning with the breeze, the forward line began to make a mark as a unit with captain Scott Feldman and Ronan Byrne showing some lovely touches. Domhnall Rodgers began to show his range of ball-striking skills, firing over after a huge clearance from Mossie Corbett. And after a foul close to goal, the same player showed serious bottle to bury a penalty low to the corner of the net.

Gavin Doyle, Mark Wallace, Kristian Grace and John O’Connell all played their part as Ratoath found another level.

It was champagne hurling after that, Liam Kelly and Mossie plucking balls from the sky at different stages to dramatic effect with Domhnall firing a free from all of 60 metres and Eoin Drysdale rounding things off in style with a fourth goal. Special mention to Sean Corbett who played such a part in the group stage, but missed the final due to injury.

A great achievement for this bunch of players and the mentors who have put in such work.

Ráth Tó abu!

Ratoath squad: Tim Fitzpatrick, John Fitzharris, Tomas Corbett, Fionn Nolan, Chris Haskins, Liam Kelly, Maitiu Duggan; Ben Fraser, Liam Corbett, Scott Feldman (C), Domhnall Rodgers, Ronan Byrne, Eoin Drysdale, Ronan Conheady, Gavin Doyle. Mark Wallace, Kristian Grace, John O’Connell, Sean Corbett.