Ráth Tó 1-14 Na Fianna 0-14
Ratoath emerged 3 point winners in this exciting first round championship clash played in Dunsany on Friday evening. This was a game that was evenly contested that could have gone either way but to their credit the Ratoath men finished the stronger to shade it at the final whistle.
The first score of the match was a goal that came in the 4th minute with Eamon Wallace cutting through the heart of the Na Fianna defence, exchanging passes with Gavin McGowan before batting the ball to the net. This was soon followed by a point from Bryan McMahon before Na Fianna got off the mark with a free in the 9th minute.After that it was very much tit-for that as points from Bobby OBrien, Darragh Kelly, McMahon and Wallace were cancelled out by scores from play and frees from the Enfield side. It was Na Fianna who were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute that resulted in a black card for Ciaran O'Fearraigh. The shot though was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Shane Duffy. They got another point soon after to draw level but Ratoath finished the half on the front foot with the last 3 scores through Wallace, O'Brien and a Conor Rooney free to leave the half time score 1-8 to 0-8.
After the interval it was the Na Fianna men who enjoyed their best spell of the game, winning the midfield battle and outscoring their opponents 5 points to 1 as they took the lead in the 48th minute. Back came Ratoath with substitute Connell Ahearne, Bobby and Cian o'Brien notching a point each to go back in front . Na Fianna's hopes of snatching victory were then hampered when one of their players was sent off and while Ratoath missed goal opportunities to kill the game they held on, with the help of further points from Gareth Rooney and Ahearne to record a narrow but deserved victory .
Foireann Ráth Tó: Shane Duffy, Brian O'Connor, Conor McGill, Ciarán O'Fearraigh, Enda Cahill, Brian Power, Emmet Boyle, Cian O'Brien,(0-1) Darragh Kelly (0-1), Gavin Quigley, Bobby O'Brien (0-3), Gavin McGowan, Bryan McMahon (0-2, 1 free), Conor Rooney (0-1), Eamon Wallace (1-2) Fir Ionad: Connell Ahearne(0-3, 1 free) for O'Fearraigh ( black card, Ben McGowan for Rooney, Gareth Rooney(0-1) for Quigley, Jack McGowan for Wallace( black card)
Na Fianna Suffer Opening Round Defeat to Ratoath
Na Fianna 0-14 Ratoath 1-14
Na Fianna lost out in this well contested battle in Dunsany on Friday night.
Ratoath burst out of the blocks early on, carving open the Na Fianna defence easily in the opening ten minutes. This culminated in an Eamon Wallace goal as Na Fianna struggled to match their opponents. Na Fianna soon settled with a Daniel Queeney long range free, while Ethan Devine hit three points in a row as Na Fianna fought their way back. Stout defending from John Baldwin, Evan Mullally and Anthony Neary gave Na Fianna solidness at the back while Pater Slevin was marshalling Meath player Brian McMahon well.
Barry Clancy had a first half penalty saved after Conor Downey was brought down which resulted in a black card for a Ratoath player.
Barry Clancy also hit three points in this half with James Geagan claiming the other as Na Fianna went in at half time 1-08 to 0-8 behind.
Na Fianna had a great start after half time with Jamie Queeney sending over an inspirational point from the throw in. Clancy hit another point from a free as Ratoath hit back with another point. Na Fianna captain Shane Geraghty made two trademark exceptional saves in the second half to deny Ratoath goals, while Meath minors Sean Martin and Daniel Devine grew in stature in a game that ebbed and flowed in both directions.
Jamie Queeney pointed a free followed by a Conor Downey point as Na Fianna drew level. But two points from Ratoath repelled Na Fianna despite another point from Daniel Queeney and Jamie Queeney who excelled in the second half. Ratoath finished strongest to secure an important forst round win.
Na Fianna were best served by Shane Geraghty, John Baldwin, Anthony Neary, Daniel Queeney, Sean Martin, Ethan Devine, Jamie Queeney and Barry Clancy.
Na Fianna: Shane Geraghty, John Baldwin, Evan Mullally, Peter Slevin, James Geagan (0-1), Anthony Neary, Daniel Devine, Daniel Queeney (0-2, 1f), Michael Farley, Sean Martin, Ethan Devine (0-3), Barry Slevin, Barry Clancy (0-4,2f), Conor Downey (0-1), Jamie Queeney (0-3, 1f). Sub: Dean Henrick for Farley.