Ratoath’s rise crowned with Royal County title

Ratoath’s win condemns Summerhill to third final loss in-a-row

Ratoath 3-15 Summerhill 2-13

The 1991 census recorded Ratoath as a sleepy east-Meath village of just 593, possessing a football club whose biggest achievement was a solitary junior success in 1970.

They still operated in the junior ranks as recently as 2012, yet seven years on their rise up through the Royal County ranks is complete as senior champions.

A commuter belt town of over 10,000 now, the breakthrough success could just be the start of a power shift east in the county.

Former Dublin goalkeeper Davy Byrne, who won a junior title playing in 2004 and managing Ratoath in 2012, masterminded the success though there was an early speed wobble in Navan.

Kevin Ryan netted for Summerhil inside 15 seconds, indicating that they might go one better than their final defeats in 2017 and 2018.

Ratoath were back level by the fourth minute, however, thanks to a converted Eamon Wallace penalty and there were further goals from Conor Rooney and Daithi McGowan by half-time.

Ratoath led 3-7 to 1-6 at that stage and stretched the gap to nine before Summerhill rallied with four points in a row.

The 2013 champions got the gap back to five but never got any closer and were 10 points down in injury-time before conjuring 1-2 to gloss the scoreline.

Ratoath: S Duffy; C O Fearraigh, C McGill, S Brazil; B Wyer, G McGowan, J Gillespie; K McCabe, B McGowan; C Rooney (1-2), D McGowan (1-2, 0-2f), E Wallace (1-3, 1-0 pen); C O'Brien, B McMahon (0-5, 0-3f), J Wallace (0-3). Subs: E Boyle for O Fearraigh (43 mins black card), D Kelly for B McGowan (46), B O'Connor for D McGowan (53), J McGowan for O'Brien (57), C Ahearne for Rooney (57), A Gerard for G McGowan (59), Boyle (65 black card, not replaced).

Summerhill: T McDonnell; P Jennings, Ronan Ryan, J Lavelle; J Keane, Ross Ryan (1-0), P Geraghty (0-1); D McCabe (0-1), D Dalton; D Larkin (0-1), P Larkin, K Ryan (1-1); L Shaw (0-1), B Dardis (0-7, 0-6f), S Dalton (0-1). Subs: M Byrne for K Ryan (31 mins), C Frayne for Shaw (41), W Ryan for P Larkin (46).

Referee: D Gough (Slane).