AIB Leinster Club SFC: Impressive Garrycastle advance
AIB Leinster Club SFC Quarter-Final
GARRYCASTLE (WESTMEATH) 3-11 RATOATH (MEATH) 2-12
By Conor McKenna at TEG Cusack Park
Garrycastle advanced to the semi-finals of the Leinster Championship, following a two-point victory over Ratoath, after a fantastic game of football, in TEG Cusack Park.
Garrycastle were excellent for large periods of the match, but were left hanging on for dear life at the end, as Ratoath threw everything in search of a late goal, which would have given them victory.
The Meath champions made a great start to the game, with points from Conor Rooney and Joey Wallace giving them a two-point lead.
Garrycastle then got a goal in the sixth minute, with Alex Gardiner finding the net, after a pass from Dessie Dolan.
James Sheerin and Rooney then traded scores, though Garrycastle then scored seven points in succession to stretch their lead to eight points.
Eamon Wallace responded with a free for Ratoath, which was quickly followed out with a point from Andrew Monaghan.
A free from Connell Ahearne turned out to be the final score of the first half, as Garrycastle went into the interval with a 1-9 to 0-5 advantage.
Ratoath needed a strong start to the second half and it duly arrived with Conor Rooney’s effort opening the second half scoring.
Cian Rogers scored Ratoath’s only goal in the 32nd minute, after the Garrycastle goalkeeper lost possession and a point from Eamon Wallace reduced the deficit to two points.
Garrycastle responded almost immediately with a goal of their own, Tom O’Halloran fisted to the net in the 36th minute, at the end of an excellent team move.
A 43rd minute goal from Michael Monaghan left Garrycastle seven in front and the victory seemed to be on cards at this stage of the game.
Garrycastle were nine points up at one stage, though Ratoath never gave up and a 61st minute goal from Darragh Kelly left just three points between the sides.
There were five minutes of stoppage time and a free from Eamon Wallace left just two points in it, as a sensational comeback looked possible.
Sean Brennan made a save late on to deflect the ball out for a “45”, and Darragh Kelly sent the resulting place-ball wide, as Garrycastle held on for victory, by the skin of their teeth.
The Westmeath champions will now meet Ballyboden St. Enda’s in the Leinster semi-final.
Scorers for Garrycastle: Michael Monaghan 1-2, Alex Gardiner 1-1, Tom O’Halloran 1-0, Dessie Dolan 0-3 (3fs), James Sheerin 0-2, Andrew Monaghan 0-2, Ger Heneghan 0-1 (f).
Scorers for Ratoath: Eamon Wallace 0-6 (5fs), Daithi McGowan 1-1, Cian Rogers 1-0, Conor Rooney 0-3, Joey Wallace 0-1, Connell Ahearne 0-1 (f)
GARRYCASTLE: Sean Brennan; John Gaffey, Jack Donohue, Mark McCallon; James Dolan, Gary McCallon, Matthew Guiheen; Justin Barrett, Doron Harte; Andrew Monaghan, Eoin Monaghan, Michael Monaghan; Alex Gardiner, James Sheerin, Dessie Dolan.
Subs: Tom O’Halloran for Andrew Monaghan (h-t), Ger Heneghan for Dessie Dolan (h-t), Eoin Mulvihil for Eoin Monaghan (55), Jason Nugent for Michael Monaghan (58), Conor Cosgrove for Alex Gardiner (60), Johnny McGuire for Doron Harte (62)
RATOATH: Shane Duffy; Sean Brazil, Conor McGill, Luke Newe; Ciaran O’Fearraigh, Gavin McGowan, Emmett Boyle; Keith McCabe, Darragh Kelly; Eamon Wallace, Conor Rooney, Brian O’Connor; Joey Wallace, Connell Ahearne, Cian O’Brien.
Subs: Andrew Gerard for Sean Brazil (h-t), David McGowan for Brian O’Connor (h-t), Cian Rogers for Connell Ahearne (h-t), Darragh McPartlin for Shane Duffy (39), Ben McGowan for Cian O’Brien (47)
REFEREE: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).