Meath SFC Final: Ratoath stun Gaeil Colmcille with late goal
Meath senior football championship final
RATOATH 1-14 GAEIL COLMCILLE 1-13
By Paul Keane at Pairc Tailteann
Joey Wallace capped his return to the Ratoath team with a thrilling display and a dramatic 68th minute match winning goal as the club secured back to back Meath SFC titles.
The Meath attacker and big brother Eamon both devoted their time to athletics earlier in the year and only returned to the club panel in recent weeks.
But they played important roles with Joey sniping 1-3 and the all important goal in Navan while Eamon came on and won a stoppage time free that was converted.
It's only Ratoath's second title ever and keeps the club in line for a dream double of senior crowns as their hurlers play Trim in their final next weekend.
But they will count themselves as fortunate to have retained the Keegan Cup as they trailed by three points two minutes into stoppage time.
Kells outfit Gaeil Colmcille put themselves in pole position when Brian Hanlon took his personal tally to 1-5 for the day with a 62nd minute penalty conversion.
That put the underdogs 1-13 to 0-13 ahead and they also possessed an extra man as Ratoath sub Emmett Boyle was sent off in the 58th minute.
It remained that way until the 66th minute when Eamon Wallace won a free that captain Bryan McMahon converted, reducing the deficit to two.
Then, with time almost up, wing-back Andrew Gerrard floated a high ball in which broke down in the goalmouth and Joey Wallace flicked to the net to steal victory.
It was tough on Gaeil Colmcille but it was no more than Wallace deserved as he impressed throughout, drawing a series of fouls which McMahon and Daithi McGowan converted.
Brian Farrell's Ratoath hinted initially that they might win more comfortably as they strode 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after 10 minutes with Joey Wallace having a hand in four of those scores.
McMahon grabbed two of the points while ex-Meath underage star McGowan and Jack Flynn got the others.
But the holders only added another point in the entire half, from a McGowan free, as Gaeil Colmcille came roaring into the contest.
The Kells men were back level at 0-5 apiece by the 14th minute following back to back Seamus Mattimoe points.
And they closed out the half with Brian Hanlon's third and fourth points, both from frees, to lead 0-9 to 0-6 at the interval.
The third quarter was nip and tuck as the game opened out into an exciting encounter and a fisted Wallace point left Ratoath with a one-point lead after 50 minutes.
Gaeil Colmcille powered on from there with a Mattimoe leveller to tie it up at 0-13 apiece entering stoppage time.
Crucially, they had the extra-man after Boyle's exit for Ratoath and when Hanlon curled home from the penalty spot they led 1-13 to 0-13.
Ratoath simply refused to be beaten though and McMahon's point from a free in the 66th minute gave them hope with just two in it.
And when Gerrard lobbed in a speculative high ball, Wallace was on hand to cap a brilliant game with a poacher's finish from close range to secure a famous win.
Ratoath scorers: Joey Wallace 1-3, Bryan McMahon 0-5 (0-3f), Daithi McGowan 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 45), Jack Flynn 0-1, Cian O'Brien 0-1.
Gaeil Colmcille scorers: Brian Hanlon 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), Seamus Mattimoe 0-4 (0-3f), Liam Ferguson 0-1, James Reilly 0-1, Evan Sheridan 0-1, Conal Courtney 0-1.
RATOATH: Shane Duffy; Ciaran O Fearraigh, Conor McGill, Ben Wyer; Andrew Gerrard, Gavin McGowan, Jack Gillespie; Ben McGowan, Cian O'Brien; Jack Flynn, Bryan McMahon, Conor Rooney; Joey Wallace, Cian Rogers, Daithi McGowan. Subs: Eamon Wallace for Rogers 38, Emmett Boyle for Gillespie 34, Connell Ahearne for Rooney 52, Keith McCabe for O'Brien 56, Darragh Kelly for B McGowan 63.
GAEIL COLMCILLE: Justin Carry-Lynch; Adam Muldoon, Paul Tormay, James Reilly; Jordan Muldoon, Sean Curran, Fionn Reilly; Liam Ferguson, Philip Ward; Conal Courtney, Keith Reilly, Evan Sheridan; Seamus Mattimoe, Brian Hanlon, Aaron Lynch. Subs: Barry Smith for Ward 38, Barry Tormay for Curran 48, Keith Reilly for Courtney 59, Ryan Farnham for Hanlon 65, Cian Doogan for Barrett 66.
Referee: David Coldrick (Blackhall Gaels).