Ratoath power through to U21 final
Ratoath and Dunshaughlin played out an entertaining under 21 football semi final in Ashbourne on Sunday 19 November.
On a bright but chilly morning, Dunshaughlin started the scoring with a pointed free in the second minute. Ratoath responded immediately with a Connell Ahearne free and then added a fine goal through Leigh Sullivan almost immediately afterwards. Dunshaughlin responded well and picked off points in the 5th and 7th minutes to narrow the gap to 1. Niall Donnelly scored a nice point to widen the gap, but Dunshaughlin were playing nicely at this point and rattled off 3 points, while Ratoath only added a Cian Rogers free, leaving the game tied at 1-3 to 6 points.
In the 24th minute Gavin McGowan converted a 45 and that seemed to be the spark that ignited Ratoath. Daragh Kelly started to get on top in midfield, while Andrew Gerrard and Leigh Sullivan were giving Ratoath good penetration down the wings. Connell Ahearne was showing well and Ben McGowan was starting to come into the game more.
Ahearne added 4 points and he and Sullivan combined to get the ball through to Cian Rogers. Rogers still had plenty of work to do, but he scored a top drawer goal and Ratoath went in at half time 8 points to the good.
Ratoath started the second half where they had left off – a Rogers free the first score of the half. Daithi McGowan replaced his brother Gavin and after the sides exchanged points he was to score a super point from a free out at the 45.
Dunshaughlin then had a nice passage of play but a crucial interception by Gerrard stemmed a good move and play turned quickly with Daithi getting on the end of a nicemove to notch his second.
Ratoath were dominant at this stage and 5 quick fire points to 1 by Dunshaughlin took Ratoath to a comfortable lead. Two of the points were excellent efforts – one a solo effort from Gerrard and another from out on the right line by Sullivan really stood out. Some of Ratoath fielding during this period was excellent too – Darragh kelly, Daithi McGowan and Ahearne all making fine catches.
Dunshaughlin managed a couple of points themselves but a good fisted point by Ahearne and a free by Rogers completed the Ratoath tally.
Dunshaughlin were to finish the scoring with a converted penalty that Darragh McPartlin almost saved and a final point from a free, for which Gerrard received a black card.
After a slightly slow start this was a really strong display by Ratoath.
Key performers were Leigh Sullivan, Darragh Kelly, Ahearne and Cian Rogers particularly in the second half. Ben McGowan showed well and Daragh McGowan was excellent in goal. However, Andrew Gerrard was the standout player and was involved in all good things for Ratoath.
Daithi McGowan for Gavin McGowan
Conor O’Sullivan for Niall Donnelly
Ryan Kelly for Jack Gillespie
James O’Brien for Eoin Clayton
Sean Johnson for Connell Ahearne
Peter Barry for Gerrard (bc)
Cian Rogers 1-5
Connell Ahearne 0-6
Leigh Sullivan 1-1
Daithi McGowan 0-2
Gavin McGowan 0-1
Niall Donnelly 0-1
Andrew Gerrard 0-1