Ratoath emerged 3 point winners in this exciting first round championship clash played in Dunsany on Friday evening, 19th May. This was a game that was evenly contested that could have gone either way, but to their credit the Ratoath men finished the stronger to shade it at the final whistle.
The first score of the match was a goal that came in the 4th minute with Eamon Wallace cutting through the heart of the Na Fianna defence, exchanging passes with Gavin McGowan before batting the ball to the net. This was soon followed by a point from Bryan McMahon before Na Fianna got off the mark with a free in the 9th minute. After that it was very much tit-for-tat as points from Bobby O’Brien, Darragh Kelly, McMahon and Wallace were cancelled out by scores from play and frees from the Enfield side. It was Na Fianna who were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute that resulted in a black card for Ciaran O’Fearraigh. The shot though was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Shane Duffy. They got another point soon after to draw level but Ratoath finished the half on the front foot with the last 3 scores through Wallace, O’Brien and a Conor Rooney free to leave the half time score 1-8 to 0-8.
After the interval it was the Na Fianna men who enjoyed their best spell of the game, winning the midfield battle and outscoring their opponents 5 points to 1, as they took the lead in the 48th minute. Back came Ratoath with substitute Connell Ahearne, Bobby and Cian O’Brien notching a point each to go back in front. Na Fianna’s hopes of snatching victory were then hampered, when one of their players was sent off and while Ratoath missed goal opportunities to kill the game they held on, with the help of further points from Gareth Rooney and Ahearne to record a narrow but deserved victory.
Foireann Ráth Tó: Shane Duffy, Brian O’Connor, Conor McGill, Ciarán O’Fearraigh, Enda Cahill, Brian Power, Emmet Boyle, Cian O’Brien (0-1), Darragh Kelly (0-1), Gavin Quigley, Bobby O’Brien (0-3), Gavin McGowan, Bryan McMahon (0-2, 1 free), Conor Rooney (0-1), Eamon Wallace (1-2)
Fir Ionad: Connell Ahearne (0-3, 1 free) for O’Fearraigh (black card), Ben McGowan for Rooney, Gareth Rooney (0-1) for Quigley, Jack McGowan for Wallace (black card)