U21 FC final: 'Tones triumph in thriller

December 18, 2017

Wolfe Tones' Thomas O'Reilly gets his pass in despite the best efforts of Darragh Kelly of Ratoath.

Wolfe Tones claimed the Coolrite Refrigeration Under FC for the first time with a dramatic extra-time win over Ratoath.

Wolfe Tones ......0-19

Ratoath .........1-15

Three unanswered points in the second-half off the additional 20 minutes secured the title for the Tony Kearney's who displayed admirable resilience to triumph here.

The occasion was enhanced as the trophy honours the memory of a club stalwart Joey McKeown. It follows on Wolfe Tones Under 21 F A success last year.

Apart from reaching the SFC semi-final, Wolfe Tones also won the FL Division 1 title and the MF Division 2 title this year.

Thomas O'Reilly's third pointed free cut the deficit to the minimum in the 78th minute. Then in the first minute of added time at the end of extra time Thomas Blaney levelled matters from a close range free.

Just as the final seemed set for a replay a foul on Saran O Fionnagain (coupled with some Ratoath dissent) set up the chance for O'Reilly who posted the decisive score in the 13th minute of the second-half of extra time.

Saran O Fionnagain completed a memorable year with six points from play here, some top-notch efforts. Particularly impressive in the first 30 minutes, his form dipped a bit in the second-half. However, he notched the 'Tones first extra-time score with a top class effort that levelled matters for the third time.

Caolan Ward landed five frees with his left boot and was unperturbed by a couple of misses.He was forced off with an injury in the 78th minute. Thomas Blaney deputised to great effect as the left-footed freetaker.

Ratoath - bidding to complete an Under 21 championship double - were second best for most of normal time. They were five points off the pace three times. However, they chipped away at the deficit and were thrown a lifeline when sub Daithi McGowan was fouled for a 58th minute penalty.

The game's top scorer Cian Rogers expertly netted the kick and suddenly Ratoath were 1-11 to 0-12 ahead. Pointed frees from O'Reilly and Ward in added time at the end of the hour made it 1-11 to 0-14 after the hour.

Wolfe Tones captain Thomas O'Reilly accepts the Joey McKeown Cup from Julie Anne McKeown, wife of the late Joey.

Ratoath regained their last quarter momentum in the first period of extra time. Points from Conal Ahern and sub Daithi McGowan left Robert Madden's men 1-14 to 0-15 ahead at the interval in extra time. The full drama was about to unfold.

Despite playing into the wind blowing from the old swimming pool end, Wolfe Tones made nearly all of the running in the first 30 minutes.

Full-forward Saran O Fionnagain set the tone with three points from play in the opening 12 minutes. His first score was cancelled by a Cian O'Neill that levelled matters for the only time in the first-half.

O Fionnagain's third score was assisted by a free from wing-back Caolan Ward. The strong running wing-back went on to register three left-footed frees in the opening period. His second and third such scores left Wolfe Tones five points clear on two occasions in the second quarter. The third left the board reading 0-8 to 0-3.

Ratoath enjoyed a brief recovery in the lead-in to half-time with points from Conal Ahern and Leigh Suliivan. Wolfe Tones led by 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time with the prospect of wind advantage to come.

Wolfe Tones responded to a point from Ratoath sub Sean Johnson with three similar scores on the spin to move 0-11 to 0-6 clear by the 35th minute. Two Cian Rogers scores (one free) kick-started the Ratoath rally. Ben McGowan also contributed to that sequence.

Ratoath outscored Wolfe Tones by 1-2 to 0-1 in the latter stages before those late points forced extra-time.

Wolfe Tones - Luke Condie; Alan Lynam, Daniel O'Neill, Oisin Mac Ghinneartai; Eanna O'Kelly-Lynch, Charlie McGarry, Caolan Ward (0-5 fs); Padraic Diamond (0-2), Cian O'Neill (0-1); Oisin Corrigan, Thomas O'Reilly (0-4fs), Righin MacGhinneartai; Robert White, Saran O Fionnagain (0-6), Thomas Blaney (0-1 f). Subs - Mark McFadden for O Mac Ghinneartai (bc 58). Extra-time - Iarlaith O'Kelly-Lynch for R MacGhinneartai (66), R MacGhinneartai for Ward (78).

Ratoath - Darragh McPartland; Eoin Clayton, Cormac Butler, Ben Wyer; Jack Gillespie, Enda Cahill (0-1), Andrew Gerard; Darragh Kelly, Gavin McGowan (0-2, 1f); Tom Fadden, Conal Ahern (0-2), Ben McGowan (0-1); Cian Rogers (1-5, 1-0 pen, 2fs), Leigh Sullivan (0-1), Niall Donnelly (0-1f). Subs - Daithi McGowan (0-1) for Fadden (19), Sean Johnson (0-1) for Donnelly (30), Ryan Kelly for Butler (ht), Nathan Dunne for Sullivan (58), .Extra-time - Sullivan for Dunne (70).

Referee - Patrick Nelis (Kilmainham).

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